Misinformation and Disinformation Policies and Procedures

Misinformation and disinformation are significant hazards for a workplace. They can cause serious reputational damage and loss for a business/organisation.

Good news – as a member of the Policy Place online policy service, you have policies to help minimise these risks.

In this post, we’ll identify some of these policies for you to use in training and review with your team. We start by defining Misinformation because the scope of the term is often contested.

Definitions – Misinformation and Disinformation

Misinformation can refer to manipulated images and false or inaccurate information that leads to misconceptions, stereotyping, misunderstandings and real-world harm.

Whereas misinformation can be disseminated unintentionally, disinformation involves the deliberate spread of false information. It can involve the use and mix of of text, images, audio and video. It can be created and disseminated by humans and synthetically generated by AI-enabled tools.

See United Nations Countering Disinformation and Misinformation for more.

Policies to reduce the risks of misinformation

-Social Media and Digital Use

As a member of our online policy service, you have access to a number of policies dealing with the use of digital media including Social Media and Unacceptable Use policies. These policies demand professionalism in all online interactions and provide rules of engagement with digital media.  They include requirements for training, provide guidelines for acceptable use and prohibit certain behaviors when engaging with digital technology.

-Standards of conduct

In both the Integrity and Service Delivery categories of your online policies, you will find a number of policies to guide staff in ethical conduct.  For example, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and cultural responsiveness policies encourage a client-centered focus and counter the effects of stereotyping and discrediting can often occur with misinformation.

The Code of Conduct is in the Integrity category. It states your organisation’s values and expected standards of behaviour.  All staff must prioritise and act in the best interests of the organisation and take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to themselves and others.

Staff must not therefore be careless with the information they rely on and share with others.  Before using or sharing information with others, they must verify the accuracy of the information, that it is aligned with your agency’s kaupapa and has been approved for release.

-Privacy policies

Your online policies include a comprehensive suite of privacy and confidentiality policies.  These policies support your agency’s compliance with the Privacy Act 2020. They include restrictions on the sharing of personal information and require adherence to information safeguards and privacy-related training for staff. They help counter the risks of sensitive and personal information being shared and manipulated by others for a wrongful purpose.

Relax – you are a  Policy Place member!

We’ve got you covered as a Policy Place member when it comes to misinformation and disinformation. But… don’t forget the importance of staff training; Don’t forget the importance of organisational culture – encourage staff to raise any concerns they have about misinformation and to undertake due diligence before using or sharing it.

Lastly, always be on guard for it and the many contexts and ways in which misinformation is spread.