Disinfo update – 11/12/2018

Our weekly newsletter on disinformation issues.

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EU has a plan

On Wednesday, the European Commission released its awaited Action Plan against disinformation. The plan focuses on external disinformation, strengthening of EU communication budget and  significantly increases EastStratCom resources, the EU counter-disinformation Unit, to oppose Russian-financed campaigns. Nevertheless, the danger in focusing on external threats is to neglect endogenous sources of disinformation in Member States.

Hence, the Commission and Member States will set up a Rapid Alert System, which concrete form has not been detailed yet. Audiovisual media regulators will be tasked to monitor the implementation of the Code of Conduct signed by online platforms. We are looking forward to this monitoring, as it might constitute a first step for audiovisual regulators to step up on this issue.

Finally, it is very positive that teams of multi-disciplinary independent fact-checkers and researchers will be supported, as well as media literacy initiatives. EU DisinfoLab supports this recommendation in its report on automated tackling of disinformation to be presented on 13 December to the European Parliament Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel.

According to Jakub Kalenski from Atlantic Council and Roland Freudenstein from Wilfried Martens Center“what we need now is a follow-up in the sense of a speedy implementation. The extra resources need to be dedicated to those people who have a track-record in countering disinformation, not to units that talk about “strategic communication”, but in fact do not deliver in countering disinformation.”

From bots to economic boom?

In a culture that is heavily structured around image, it is now clear that DeepFakes are disinformation next big thing. WITNESS, the human rights organization focused on the power of video and technology for good, held the first-ever expert meeting connecting experts to share recommendations around this issue. Interestingly, investor Ryan Holmes is of the opinion that in an economy based on information exchanges, economical solutions will arise to prove the validity of this information, thus fake news patrolling might be the next internet boom.

France: did Facebook fueled anger?

Fuel protests and demonstrations organized in the past weeks have partly turned into a violent riot in Paris and other major cities. The movement that started in small towns and rural areas, was born on Facebook. Interestingly, the recent change in Facebook algorithm favoring local news might have contributed to spread the anger and help coordinate the actions. Newspaper Le Monde, reports that the French General Defense Secretariat is investigating on fake accounts sharing disinformation on the issue. According to a study, hundreds of accounts could be linked to Russian influence.

Library

What to read, watch and listen to this week:

Agenda

See all previous and upcomi eng disinfo events in our agenda

Congrats

Media literacy initiative Lie Detectors is one of the laureates of 2018 the Digital Skills Award