Digital safety: We are shaping a more secure digital future
- Our world is increasingly reliant on digital connectivity for education, business and services.
- The urgency to ensure a safe online environment has never been greater.
- The World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety is a multistakeholder initiative leading the charge in fostering global collaboration for enhanced digital safety.
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, understanding and tackling digital threats and harms is crucial. The comprehensive 2023 Global Online Safety Survey by Microsoft, which surveyed over 16,000 individuals across 16 countries, revealed a startling fact: 69% of respondents experienced online risks in the past year. This significant statistic underscores the widespread nature of digital dangers such as misinformation, disinformation, cyberbullying, hate speech, and threats of violence, highlighting the importance of addressing these global challenges.
The impact of delivering digital safety.
Recognizing the critical nature of these threats , the World Economic Forum launched the Global Coalition for Digital Safety. This important move signals a decisive step towards enhancing digital safety on a global scale.
The Coalition is leading the charge in fostering global collaboration for enhanced digital safety. This multistakeholder initiative includes tech giants such as Meta, Amazon, TikTok, and Google; eSafety company Activefence; the Digital Trust & Safety Partnerships; the governments of Belgium and Singapore; regulators in the UK and Australia; universities such as Oxford and Stanford; and UN agencies like UNICEF and UNOCT.
The Coalition is assisting companies, policymakers, experts, and civil society by developing practical frameworks, toolkits, and resources to create a safer digital ecosystem. It is a dynamic response to the escalating challenges of terrorist and violent content, exploitation of children, cyberbullying, harassment, hate speech, misinformation, and the emerging complexities introduced by technologies like the metaverse and generative AI. Central to its mission is the balance of respecting fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, privacy, and safety.
To address the many complexities of digital safety, the Coalition has been developing a cohesive suite of resources that, when combined, form a comprehensive toolkit. This strategic approach ensures that each output integrates with others to offer a holistic resource pool. Each report and tool is designed is collaboration with all stakeholders to build upon and supplement the others to form a complete, globally useful set of resources for advancing safety and reducing harms online. They aim to help policy-makers, industry leaders, civil society organizations, researchers and individuals to address the issue of harmful content online comprehensively and in a rights-respecting manner.
Our initial focus has been on developing Global Principles, which are instrumental in advancing digital safety while firmly respecting human rights. Far from being mere theoretical guidelines, these foundational principles have fostered a strong commitment across multiple sectors, empowering stakeholders to implement practical strategies for enhancing digital safety within their organizations and communities.
The Coalition’s efforts are focused on creating a shared understanding of digital harms to harmonize universal perspectives on them. This approach has been crucial in clearly defining and discussing these issues. Establishing this common framework and foundational language has been essential for enabling coordinated and effective action among various stakeholders. Importantly, this framework is designed to be flexible, allowing it to adapt and remain relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape.
The Coalition’s approach to handling digital safety risks is a clear indication of its dedication to creating real-world change. By providing a systematic method for dealing with the complexities of digital safety, the Coalition has addressed a vital need for standards and guidance. Emphasizing a variety of case studies and actual experiences, the Coalition has unified a broad range of perspectives, improving how companies and individuals understand and manage digital safety risks.
Moving forward, the Global Coalition for Digital Safety will be focusing on three key areas. First, we are defining clear, measurable parameters that will allow us to track the real impact of our digital safety efforts. The objective is to build solid evidence to show what is working, ensuring every step taken is informed and effective.
Second, the Coalition is preparing a map of effective intervention for digital safety, draw on safety-by-design principles and best practices to provide a resource to assist companies in effectively identifying and reducing digital risks, preventing harm and promoting trust and safety.
Third, we is ramping up efforts to improve how we share information and boost media information literacy. In an age where disinformation can spread like wildfire, it is critical that everyone has the skills to separate fact from fiction online. Through education and outreach, we aim to empower people and organizations with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the digital landscape safely and confidently. The complexity and scale of the disinformation and misinformation crisis necessitate a whole-of-society approach. Countering false information is not solely responsibility of individuals, platforms or regulators but requires the concerted effort of all sectors of society.
We are committed to making the digital world a safer place for everyone.
We are calling on passionate individuals, organizations, and leaders across industries to join the Coalition. If you share our vision of a digital environment that is safe, respectful, and enriching, and you are ready to help make a tangible difference, get involved to turn this vision into reality.