IGF 2018 WS #333
Exploring Spreads of rumors and its Innovative Governance


Organizer 1: Liyun Han, Tencent
Organizer 2: Li TIAN, Peking University

Speaker 1: Li TIAN, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Zhi Zhenfeng, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Baoguo CUI, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: KATZ JAMES, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Mallery John, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 6: Rui ZHONG, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 7: shu wang, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 8: gregory Asmolov, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 9: Vladimir Todorov, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 10: Min HANG, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 11: Rick Dunham, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 12: hayama kayoko, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group


Lily Tian

Online Moderator

Xuan Hu


Beibei Li


Round Table - 90 Min


This workshop was co-organized by the Internet Development Research Institution (IDRI) of Peking University and Tencent Company.
IDRI of Peking University is a multidisciplinary research center on the development, social impact, policy implications and legal issues concerning the Internet. Tencent Company is famous for its product WeChat,which is the most famous social media platform in China.

Speakers we invited cover multistakholders, including the researchers from academia (Peking University, Tsinghua University, Boston University), experts from the civil society (Internet of Society, Internet Society of China), representatives from the technical community (AI expert from MIT), practitioners from private sectors (Tencent, Sina Weibo and Bloomberg), and possible government speakers.

Representatives will discuss the communication paths and innovative means to govern rumors from their perspective positions. The most attractive aspect of this workshop is that practitioners from private sectors will explain how rumors spreads on social media platform and how to deal with them through the product and technology innovation.

The Academia:
1. Lily Tian, Director of Internet Development Research Institution (IDRI) of Peking University will interpret why we have been suddenly inundated by false information—purposefully deployed—that spreads so quickly and persuades so effectively from the perspective of communication and how to strengthen the governance of fake news.
2. Baoguo Cui, professor of School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University, will interpret how all the Multi-stakeholder, including government, business, news association and consumers work together to solve the problem of fake news.
3. Zhenfeng Zhi, who works as a researcher and professor at the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, researches in the areas of cyberspace governance. He will interpret the formulation and implementation of regulations and policies in order to strengthen the governance of fake news.
4. James E. Katz, PhD, is the Feld Professor of Emerging Media at Boston University’s College of Communication. He will explain how new media technologies and fake news are created and introduced to users, the effects they have on users, and how technologies and the content they produce are molded, co-constructed and re-constructed by users.

Civil society:
5-6.Rui Zhong works as a researcher at Internet Society of China. Nicolas Diaz’s research consists of the development of user-centred technologies for risk communication and privacy awareness in Social Network Sites like Facebook or Twitter. They will demonstrate the importance of the government to carefully balance speech protection and cleanup of harmful information, and the importance of improvement of media literacy in the governance of rumors from the perspective of users.

Technical community:
7-8. John C. Mallery has been at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory since 1980 and is a frequent speaker on cyber topics in the United States, Europe, and China. Lucien Castex researches in cyberlaw, Privacy, cybersecurity, media regulation and Internet policy. They will focus on technical strategies for rumors defense at this workshop.

Private sectors:
9-12. The analysts Dr. Liyun (Lyvia) Han (Tencent Wechat Eco-Security Center ), Mr. Shu Wang (Sina Weibo Think Tank) and frontline news practitioners from Bloomberg and News Today will explain how rumors spreads on the social media platform and the importance of technological innovation in the governance of rumors from a practical perspective.

We also invited government speakers who are to be confirmed, they may talk about the government report and policies relevant to the governance of rumors.


1.Diversity of speaker stakeholder: We have invited experts from multistakeholders, such as private sectors, civil society, academia, technical community and government officials.

2.First-time co-organize: Proposer has organized four times workshops on behalf of CNNIC from 2014-2017. After joining Tencent,she outreached the private enterprise and Peking University to co-organize the workshop with a new perspective, and this time, they will talk about governance of rumors.

3.Diversity of regions: Our participants are from China, the United States, Russia, Japan and many other countries, covering areas including Asia-Pacific,North America,Eastern Europe,Western European and other groups.

4. Young scholars and female participants: Majority of the participants are young scholars and about one-third of participants are female.

New digital platforms have unleashed innovative journalistic practices and also greatly expanded the ways of producing information that enable novel forms of communication and greater global reach than at any point in human history. Comparing with that we usually know about the surroundings through traditional media and news in the past, today more people have gained the opportunity as well as the ability to generate and spread information since we-media and UGC have greatly expanded the meaning of the news and the scope of news producer, or we could generally call it INFORMATION.

On the other hand, diversification of information generation is accelerating and affecting the way individuals know about and interpret the world while it also results in the explosive information, among which we find much more different to verify if we have read is the truth or rumor, and we are undergoing confusion led by abundant rumors and fake news. According to the 2017 Tencent Report on the Rumors Governance launched by Tencent Company which is famous for his product Wechat, in the year of 2017, Tencent's products matrix with the dispelling rumors function timely detect more than 500 million rumours, released a total of 76 rumor-dispelling lists as well as research reports, and involved 1,304 collaborative experts and institutions to together fight against online rumors. The above statistics, to some extent, reflect the rumor spread scale on the social media.

What we are really focusing on is why we have been suddenly inundated by false information such as rumors and fake news that spreads so quickly and persuades the audience so effectively. We are seeing that rumors seems more attractive and more powerful than real information, and the public is so easily misled; moreover, the extreme expression of the point of view is easy to set off an emotional carnival. All above these presents a question about how information operates at scale in the Internet era.

From the perspective of communication, the formation and dissemination of rumors on the Internet is a systematic and comprehensive process. In terms of governance environment, the innovation and reforms of communication runs far away than the management rules and regulatory policy, leading to the governance gap. In information producing, being affected by the technology rapidly evolving, any information can be easily spread online so that the authority and authenticity of the content can hardly be guaranteed. Especially, Some news material from social networks and We-Media is difficult to verify whether it is true or not. In communication, rumors producer usually use the exaggerated or sensational titles as well as stories to attract readers for broader spreading, making the news look very true. On the audience side, the very important element is that people lack the motivation and ability to identify the authenticity of information. From the platform’s aspect, it is very difficult to prevent it beforehand, and it can only be remedied after then.

In face of the problem, we may ask series of questions: How to regard the different words such as the rumors, fake news, the false report and others? What cause the rumors? What are the features presented when the rumors spread and who are prone to be affected? How do we identify and effectively deal with them with collaborative cooperation? The workshop aims to try to find the answers to these.

The workshop is organized as the Multi-stakeholder format, including government (if possible), civil society and technical community, especially some representatives from the private sectors including the most famous social media enterprises Tencent (wechat) company and Sina Weibo were invited to share some statistics and best practice to effectively deal with the rumors. The speakers will discuss how to promote the innovative governance of rumors, including the formulation and implementation of regulations and policies, the technology and product evolving, and improvement of public media literacy which is also the global attention to this topic.

The workshop will be organized as a roundtable and co-moderated by Prof. Lily TIAN from Internet Development Research Institution (IDRI) of Peking University and Dr. Lyvia HAN from Eco-Security Center of Tencent Company. The workshop consists of 5 sub-sessions as follows.

1. Warm up (5min)
The co-moderators will use a dialogue format to open the workshop, including a brief introduction of this topic, explanation of the background, motivations and objectives of the discussion; and then quickly introduce the speakers.

2. Brief presentation and sharing from the research and practice side (within 15 minutes respectively) (30 min)
Prof. Lily TIAN will share some latest research and thinking to this topic,
Mr. Band YANG, the director of Tencent Executive Committee of Information Security will share how Tencent's products matrix with the dispelling rumors function works to deal with the rumors problem.

3. Relevant questions and dialogue (40min)
The moderators will start a quick round of comments from the panelists on the above presentation, and then put forward some relevant questions to open the dynamic discussion, such as:
--How do you regard the online rumor and fake news from both generalized and narrowly defined perspective, and the difference among the words rumors, fake news, false report?
-- What are the main kinds of online rumors and the “susceptible population”?
-- What causes the online rumors and how to distinguish it?
-- What is the biggest difficulty and obstacle when we deal with the problem?
-- How do we promote the enhanced cooperation and innovative governance?
-- The relationship between fake news and recommendation algorithms

4. onsite and online interaction (10mins)
The moderator will boost onsite and online participants to further discussions and the Q&A session (10 min) Every speaker's question is no more than 2 seconds for promote more rounds discussion.

5. Wrap up (5min)

The workshop will focus on the specific issues of online rumors governance in the media and content areas. Online rumors have had a tremendous negative impact on the world. In the era of information explosion, it makes people confused and misleading when getting and choosing information. The credibility of news agencies has declined. Social consensus is split into pieces. Even the national security is threatened. Therefore governments, media and social media enterprises as well as individuals have to think and learn how to live in the post-truth era, and how to make it better. This workshop is trying to explore more effectively resolve the emerging and worldwide problem.

The workshop evolves the academics, private sector practitioner , industry association members, technicians, and government officials (if possible) as speakers. They will communicate with each other as a multi-participating format and the topics cover the multiple levels of governance, including government laws, regulations, and policies, innovations in technology and operating methods of enterprises, guidance and initiatives of industry associations, and personal media literacy enhancement.
The aforementioned is in accordance with the issues and ways of IGF.

Online Participation

The workshop is encouraged and panned for remote participation. Huxuan, is appointed to the remote moderator, cooperating with the IGF staff, she will coordinate the online participating system and collect the questions and key points from the remote participants, while she will keep close interaction with the onsite moderator to convey the information and facilitate the Q&A between the onsite and online participants.

Throughout the conference, the students from School of New Media of Peking University will be organized to remotely participated in it, which is arranged as a part of the Internet's international governance curriculum. The minutes and PPT will be provided on the official website of the college and the WeChat account to provide download services.