Disinfo Update 18/03/2019

Our weekly newsletter on disinformation issues.

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On May 28-29 in Brussels, join the community working against disinformation: case studies, civil society initiatives and tools will be presented. Pre-registrations for EU Disinfolab conference are open. Take a look at the agenda.

Pre-register to EU DisinfoLab conference

EU elections: The empire strikes back

On 12th of March, the European Parliament has adopted the amended regulation on the protection of personal data in the context of elections to the European Parliament. The adoption of the final text by the Member States is planned for 19th of March. This text is part of a package for securing free and fair elections. Moreover, in another resolution (a non-binding decision), parliamentarians urge the EU to prepare itself to fight back hostile disinformation campaigns of Russia along with China, Iran and North Korea.

Moreover, the European Data Protection Board has adopted a Statement on the use of personal data in the course of political campaigns and it is to note that today, the 18th of March, the rapid alert system between EU Member States is entering into force.

Can the web be fixed?

In an interview for the 30 years of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee qualifies manipulation of information online as “cybercrime”, that should be combated by a refoundation of the web, updated with fresh legal and technical rules. The inventor of the World Wide Web is urging governments to protect people’s rights and freedoms online by translating laws and regulations for the digital age.

Brexit and far-right supporters: deal or no deal?

Just when the British parliament rejected a no-deal Brexit last week, a study shows how bots and automated tweets have amplified specific messages from a very small number of users during Brexit. According to the study of F-Secure, these tweets mainly came from outside of the UK and from accounts promoting a far-right agenda.Another study of the University of Cambridge and YouGov shows that pro-leavers are more likely to believe at least one conspiracy theory about how the country is run. According to the findings, 47% of leave voters in the UK and 44% of Trump voters in the US believe the government is deliberately hiding the truth about the number of immigrants in their country.

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What to read, watch and listen to this week:  

Calendar and announcements 

  • March 20 – EU DisinfoLab Webinar with Facebook Tracking Exposed: first initiative showing how Facebook feed algorithm is personalised. Link to video conference can be found here.
  • March 21-22 @ Brussels: during EU Council meeting, the heads of state or government will review progress in tackling disinformation and the need to protect the democratic integrity of the European and national elections across the EU.
  • March 22 @ Brussels: 30 years of the Web – where do we go next? The event organised as part of the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative.
  • March 18-22: European Media Literacy Week. Events will take place across all European member states.

See all past and upcoming events in our agenda

HR Corner

  • EU H2020 project EUNOMIA is seeking for a postdoctoral research follow in data analytics and machine learning for information trustworthiness.
  • The Department of Politics and International Relations of University of Oxford is looking for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital News.
  • Specialized in open source reporting, Christiaan Triebert joins the investigative group Bellingcat.