Bertelsmann Stiftung, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (ed.)

Cathleen Berger, Charlotte Freihse, Vincent Hofmann, Matthias C. Kettemann, Katharina Mosene

Threats to democracy: Climate misinformation and gendered disinformation

Impulse #4

Format Type
Date of publication
1. edition
14 pages, PDF


Free of charge


Our information ecosystem is under pressure, challenging democracies around the world. Digital disinformation reaches millions of people with devasting effects: online campaigns turned into hate-motivated violent attacks in Christchurch, Halle an der Saale, and El Paso; deny, delay and diffuse tactics in context of the climate crisis are slowing or even halting necessary action and regulation with severe consequences for people’s lives, biodiversity, and more. But what if the content is awful, but lawful?

How do we balance the need to counter harmful content with the obligation to protect freedom of expression and privacy?

Related projects

Cover Upgrade Democracy

Democracy is changing, not least in digital spaces. We mustn’t passively standby but get active. It is time for an upgrade for public discourse (societal level), infrastructures (systemic level), and foresight capabilities (political level). In our project “Upgrade Democracy”, we build bridges between diverse, international actors and disseminate solutions that successfully counter disinformation in their respective contexts and/or innovatively use digital tools to strengthen democracy.