Sebastián Valenzuela is part of the newly inaugurated International Panel on Information Environment

June 2023 – The Nobel Prize Summit, held in Washington D.C. from May 24th to 26th, brought together Nobel laureates, scientists, policymakers, business leaders, and youth leaders to explore the question: “How can we build trust in truth, facts, and scientific evidence to create a more hopeful future for all?”

During the summit, the official launch of the International Panel on the Information Environment (IPIE) took place. This new global and independent organization is committed to providing practical scientific knowledge about threats to the global information environment.

The IPIE originated from the 2021 Nobel Prize summit and has been independently organized by researchers from around the world, including Sebastián Valenzuela, an academic from the School of Communications at UC, a researcher at the Millenium Institute Foundational Research on Data(IMFD), and the principal investigator of the Digital Inequalities and Opportunities Nucleus (NUDOS). Valenzuela serves as the president of the scientific panel. Commenting on his role in the organization, Valenzuela says, “Being part of IPIE and leading the scientific area in this initial stage is not only an honor but also a great opportunity for personal growth. It allows me to forge new networks and help the field of communications in general, highlighting its importance in people’s lives. IPIE is a platform with global reach and the capacity to engage diverse audiences. I would love to leverage my experience gained from IPIE.”

Regarding the panel’s role in generating knowledge about phenomena such as disinformation, hate speech, the influence of algorithms, and artificial intelligence, Valenzuela explains, “The only way for public policies, legislation, individuals, and companies to understand the impact of these developments is through systematic knowledge, evidence-based and scientific knowledge. While there are many researchers and institutions worldwide concerned about these issues, what is lacking is coordination of this knowledge and packaging it in a way that allows decision-makers, the public, media, and even scientists themselves to understand areas of consensus, ongoing research, and collaborate to create a healthy information environment for individuals and nations.”

The work of the IPIE was highlighted by The New York Times, which interviewed the team of researchers responsible for various areas of the panel: Wendy Chun, Saiph Savage, Charlton McIlwain, Young Mie Kim, Philip Howard, Sheldon Himelfarb, Selcan Kaynak, Sushma Raman, and Sebastián Valenzuela. In the publication, the panel members discussed the organization’s launch at the Nobel Prize Summit and presented an initial report questioning the effectiveness of content moderation, one of the most common strategies to combat misinformation. They argue that there are other strategies supported by stronger scientific evidence.

According to their findings, labeling disputed content and highlighting the sources of state-controlled media while providing corrective information to discredit misinformation and rumors are more effective responses to online falsehoods. The report suggests that efforts to pressure social media giants like Facebook and Twitter to remove content, as well as the use of internal algorithms to suspend or minimize violators’ accounts, are much less secure. The same applies to media literacy programs that aim to train people in identifying sources of false information. Valenzuela clarifies, “We are not saying that media literacy programs do not work. What we are saying is that we need more evidence of their effectiveness.”

The IPIE’s work and detailed reports are available on their website,

Source: Facultad de Comunicaciones de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Sebastián Valenzuela, a faculty member at the School of Communications of PUC and researcher at IMFD, chairs the scientific panel of this initiative.
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