The 10-point manifesto was presented by the 2021 Nobel laureates, campaigning journalists Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa, in Oslo on Friday. It warns that the potential for technology to advance societies has been undermined by the business models of the dominant online platforms.
“We urge rights-respecting democracies to wake up to the existential threat of information ecosystems being distorted by a Big Tech business model fixated on harvesting people’s data and attention, even as it undermines serious journalism and polarises debate in society and political life,” the plan states.
The proposals are endorsed by eight other peace prize recipients including Nadia Murad, who was awarded the prize in 2018 for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war, and Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 laureate for leading the women’s peace movement that ended the Liberian civil war.
The plan, presented at the freedom of expression conference at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, comes with three general demands: an end to the “surveillance-for-profit” business model that harvests users’ data to maximise engagement and underpins multibillion dollar spending by advertisers on social media companies; asking tech firms to treat all users equally around the world; and urging newsrooms and governments to support independent journalism.