Disinformation ‘Expert’ Danny Rogers: Use Congress to Regulate Big Tech to Relegate ‘Trumpism’ to an Aberration of History

Instagram/Donald Trump
Instagram/Donald Trump

Dr. Daniel Rogers, the cofounder and executive director of the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), wrote an op-ed for Time magazine calling for sweeping tech reforms to block President Donald Trump or “someone like him” from getting elected.

Breitbart News reported on Rogers’ claim during a February 2022 presentation to Princeton University students that supporters of Trump cannot be deprogrammed from alleged disinformation. He also bashed Breitbart News’s coverage of immigrant crime as inciting “anti-immigrant violence.” To Rogers, accurate news coverage is “violence.”

In Rogers’ op-ed, he contended that the “key” to Donald Trump’s “rise to power” was “online disinformation”:

This is also the perfect setup for someone like Trump to create further political turmoil in the future. People like him will say or do literally anything to grab attention as long as it benefits them. They lie outright solely to further their own immediate interests. Their disregard for truth is pathological. Their entire personas are fabrications designed to maximize ratings. Our modern information environment, which rewards engagement above all else, is perfect for someone like Trump to succeed unless we make fundamental changes to this system.

To combat alleged disinformation, and to prevent another Trump, Rogers called for sweeping antitrust, privacy, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act reform. In his op-ed, he claimed that his proposed reforms would not amount to a “truth police” because it would regulate disinformation directly; he said he would merely go after the “toxic business models underpinning our information environment.”

In his call for antitrust reform, he said the digital ad market is dominated by Facebook and Google. Given that they are the dominant players in the digital ad market, Rogers contended, “They have no competition and thus little incentive to better serve their customers, the advertisers, by blocking ad s— and funding — to sites peddling disinformation and hate.”

The GDI cofounder called for increasing platform liability for tech companies:

Given this model, a solution becomes clearer. Any time a platform makes a decision — or programs an algorithm to make a decision — to show content to a user, the platform should assume liability for that decision. If Facebook recommends a white supremacist group to a user, and that user joins the group, becomes radicalized, plans violence there, and harms someone, the victim should be able to hold Facebook accountable for recommending the group and facilitating the planning. Sure, Facebook didn’t solely cause the harm, but they were involved and thus bear some responsibility. Right now, under the blanket immunity provided by Section 230, the victim can’t even take Facebook to court to hash it out, let alone hold them accountable. That’s what needs to change.

Rogers said that Congress has to update the “rules that govern the manipulation of our information environment in order to prevent another nihilistic narcissist gaining power.” He said that, to combat disinformation, GDI has partnered with tech companies, governments, and other advocacy groups.

He concluded in his op-ed, “But since most of the companies affected are American, right now the most powerful levers to combat disinformation lay in the hands of Congress — it’s time to pull them and relegate Trumpism to the ‘aberration’ Justice Ginsberg predicted it would be.”

Rogers is the co-founder of GDI, which was partnered with Microsoft advertising subsidiary Xandr and listed conservative news outlets as “disinformation” risks until Microsoft suspended their partnership following reports. “We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda. We’re working quickly to fix the issue and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Breitbart News.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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