International Grand Committee on Disinformation


Dublin, Ireland

November 7, 2019

Ireland, Australia, Finland, Estonia, Singapore, The United Kingdom and The United States

Committee members, experts and industry representatives met for a day-long meeting, focusing specifically on how to advance international cooperation when regulating hateful and harmful online content, as well as content that seeks to interfere in elections.

For a third time, Zuckerberg declined to appear before the committee; in his place was Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy.

The day’s discussion centred on several questions: What most urgently needs to be addressed when it comes to the harm caused by hate speech and electoral interference online? What regulatory structures exist to address these issues, and what will they look like going forward? How can national parliaments work together on platform regulation?

Session 1 – November 7

transcript | video

Karlin Lillington
The Irish Times

Johnny Ryan

Roger McNamee
Investor and Author

Ben Nimmo

Carole Cadwalladr
The Observer

Monika Bickert
Vice President of Content Policy, Facebook

Jim Balsillie
Chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation; Retired Chairman and Former Ceo of Blackberry

Marco Pancini
Director of Public Policy for YouTube Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Google

Karen White
Director of Public Policy, Twitter

Ronan Costello
Public Policy Manager, Twitter

Helen Dixon
Data Protection Commissioner for Ireland

Paolo Cesarini
Dg Connect, European Commission

Marc Rotenberg
President and Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, Dc

Richard Bruton
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland

Rogier Huizenga
Inter-Parliamentary Union

Adrian Lovett
President and Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Web Foundation

Áine Kerr
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Kinzen

Frane Maroevic
Director, Content & Jurisdiction Program, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

Lorna Woods
Professor of Internet Law, University of Essex


On November 7, 2019, the seven countries represented at the meeting agreed to a set of principles “to advance international collaboration in the regulation of social media to combat harmful content, hate speech and electoral interference online.”

The committee also recommended a moratorium on online micro-targeted political advertising containing false or misleading information.

The nine principles are as follows:

  1. Online harmful content and disinformation are complex problems which require political and civic collaboration to combat; left unchecked, these problems will undermine our civic space and democratic institutions.
  2. The work of the International Grand Committee has proven valuable in highlighting the issue of disinformation and desires this work to continue.
  3. The Committee continues to recognise the conflicting principles that sometimes apply to the regulation of the internet, including the aim to protect freedom of speech, in accordance with national laws, while, at the same time, countering abusive speech and disinformation.
  4. There is need for full transparency regarding the source, targeting methodology and levels of funding for all online political advertising but such controls should not be interpreted as a blanket ban on advertising relating to the political sphere.
  5. The Committee believes that global technology firms cannot on their own be responsible in combatting harmful content, hate speech and electoral interference and that self-regulation is insufficient.
  6. Technology companies should be fully accountable and answerable to national legislatures and other organs of representative democracy.
  7. The internet is global and accordingly it is vital that an internationally collaborative approach is taken with regard to regulation.
  8. The Committee recognises the initiatives taken by individual countries and non-governmental organisations in this space, but these require more coordination across national boundaries.
  9. The Committee therefore recognises the need for a dedicated international space which provides such co-ordination of internet regulations and commit to work with governments and relevant multilateral organisations in the establishment of such governance structures.

Media Coverage

  • TechCrunch: US legislator, David Cicilline, joins international push to interrogate platform power
  • The Times: Mark Zuckerberg keen to log on for fake news conference at Seanad
  • Rappler: Facebook grilled at international committee on disinformation
  • Politico: Irish disinformation powwow
  • Reuters: International committee calls for pause on false political ads online
  • The Irish Times: Politicians from across the world meet in Dublin to quiz tech giants on ‘fake news’
  • Irish Examiner: Mark Zuckerberg to meet with ‘fake news’ committee in Dublin
  • European Views: Congressman David Cicilline to attend International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ in Dublin