Chuck Ross, DCNF
- Prince Harry has joined the board of a commission that will fight misinformation in the media.
- The Aspen Commission on Information Disorder will be fully funded by Craig Newmark, the billionaire founder of Craigslist.
- Another member of the Aspen Commission is a former Facebook executive who has called for Newsmax and OANN to be de-platformed.
- Newmark has funded several disinformation initiatives, including two that have themselves been accused of pushing false narratives.
- Newmark recently funded an NYU study that claimed without evidence that emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop were ‘stolen materials.’
Fresh off his messy split with the British royal family, Prince Harry has joined a commission funded by billionaire tech mogul Craig Newmark to study media misinformation.
Harry is one of 15 members of the organization, The Aspen Commission on Information Disorder.
Another notable member is Alex Stamos, a former Facebook executive who earlier this year called on media companies to de-platform conservatives outlets like OANN and Newsmax.
The commission’s stated aim is to provide recommendations to governments, corporations and the public on how to fight misinformation in the media.
“State and non-state actors are undermining trust and sowing discord in civil society and modern democratic institutions by spreading, or encouraging the sharing of, false information across traditional and non-traditional media platforms,” the commission’s website says.
TV personality Katie Couric and Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov are also on the commission.
Two moderate Republicans are part of the group: former Rep. Will Hurd and former homeland security official Chris Krebs.
President Donald Trump fired Krebs on Nov. 17 after he pushed back publicly on allegations of rampant voter fraud following the 2020 election.
Newmark’s charity, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, is fully funding the commission, according to its website.
The commission does not specify what exactly it will study, how it will classify content as misinformation, or whether it will focus on outlets across the political spectrum.
Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook, suggested earlier this year that social media and traditional media giants should cut ties with certain conservative networks which he accused of peddling disinformation.
“It is up to the Facebooks and YouTubes in particular to think about whether or not they want to be effectively cable networks for disinformation,” Stamos said in a Jan. 17 interview on CNN.
“And then we have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes.”
“This is allowing people to seek out information if they really want to, but not pushing it into their faces I think is really where we’re going to have to go here.”
Newmark, who contributed $100,000 to a group that supported Joe Biden’s campaign and has funded other disinformation projects that focus on conservative mediums. Some of those projects have themselves been accused of spreading false narratives.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Feb. 1 that a Newmark-backed study by New York University accused conservatives of pushing “disinformation” when they claim that social media companies have bias against conservatives.
The study contained a major inaccuracy.
The researchers defended Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of a story from The New York Post about emails purportedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop by claiming that the newspaper published “stolen material.”
Despite the claim, there is no evidence that materials published by The Post from Biden’s laptop were stolen. Even Biden has not made the allegation.
The study, which also defended decisions by Facebook and Twitter to ban President Donald Trump from their platforms, recommended creating a Digital Regulatory Agency to oversee social media companies.
“As an alternative, expanded jurisdiction and funding for social media oversight could be given to an existing agency, such as the Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission.”
Craig Newmark Philanthropies also funds a group called the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which was recently accused of spreading false information about The Epoch Times, a website founded by Chinese dissidents who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
GDI and another group, Advance Democracy Inc., provided analysis to The New York Times for a story that asserted that The Epoch Times was affiliated with a dozen sites known for pushing misinformation online.
The Epoch Times disputed the claim in an editorial, saying that it “clarified multiple times” to The New York Times that it was not affiliated with the websites mentioned in the story.
Advance Democracy Inc. is operated by Daniel Jones, a former Senate aide who worked closely with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier about Donald Trump.
Jones’ organizations paid Fusion GPS and Steele more than $6.2 million for research in 2017 and 2018, according to tax filings reported by the DCNF.
Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that his consortium received tens of millions of dollars in funding from a group of liberal billionaires.
A Justice Department inspector general’s report said that the FBI determined by February 2017 that there were no links between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.
The Aspen commission did not respond to a request for comment.
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