- March 25, 2021
On March 25, 2021 the Aspen Institute Germany launched a new workshop-series entitled “Engaging German Influencers” bringing together relevant stakeholders from the digital information ecosystem.
Influencers are playing an increasingly important role as agenda setters and information launderers, and their growing importance in the information ecosystem is accompanied by growing responsibility. Especially with regard to elections, they can also exert influence on political behavior in their respective communities. The Corona pandemic has led to an increase in fake news, conspiracy myths and disinformation campaigns especially online and on social media platforms. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to bring German influencers, policymakers and representatives from the media and civil society into a constructive dialogue around issues of understanding democracy, (platform) regulation, ethical media use and disinformation. One of the aims of this platform for dialog is to contribute to a fact-based political and social online ecosystem.
In this workshop we looked at the fundamental questions surrounding the role of influencers, gatekeeper media, civil society organizations and politicians in democracies. This does not only include an assessment of their own role, but also a look at the responsibility this entails towards followers, readers and voters. Experiences with fake news and disinformation campaigns within influencer communities – especially prior to and during election campaigns – will serve as a basis for discussion. In addition, stakeholders from politics, media, academia and civil society will be given a platform to share their respective assessments and experiences, with the aim of creating an atmosphere for constructive dicussion from which all sides can benefit. The workshop was held in German and under Chatham House Rule.
The project and workshop-series is generously supported by the Open Society Foundations and takes place in partnership with Reachbird.