Disinfo Update 06/05/19

Our weekly newsletter on disinformation issues.

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We have the pleasure to confirm that Sir Julian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union, will be concluding the debates of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference on 29 May in Brussels.
You can have a look at the updated program here. Hurry up – only few seats left!  #Disinfo2019.

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Do populists believe more in conspiracies?

According to the results of the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project shared with The Guardian, people with strongly held populist views across the world are far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. For instance, the survey revealed that the populist views’ defenders tend to suppose that the harmful effects of vaccines are deliberately hidden from the public. Moreover, they tend to believe that the 9/11 attacks were supported by the US government, and that man-made global warming is a hoax. In addition, today, 8% Europeans believe – incorrectly – that vaccines can often produce severe side effects and 38% think vaccines can actually cause the diseases against which they protect.

To rate or not to rate?

Last week, fact-checking website Poynter published a list of 515 websites allegedly spreading false or misleading information. Few days later, after having received complaints from some outlets of this list and readers who objected to the inclusion of certain sites,  the article was removed from the platform. The editor in chef of Poyter has apologised for “the weaknesses in the methodology”. NewsGuard Technologies, has also recently created a browser extension alerting users about unreliable news sites. Our recent webinar gave the floor to Global Disinformation Index initiative so they would explain how they’re rating disinforming sources online. As Forbes recently explained, stopping disinformation requires measuring and understanding it not just monitoring and debunking it. Thus, it appears crucial to develop new methodologies and tools to fairly assess information quality online.

Is there a monopoly on fact-checking?

According to Samir Patil in his opinion peace in the New York Times, disinformation and hate speech are drowning out truth on social media networks in India, influencing political choices of electors during the upcoming Indian elections. Today, the world’s biggest democracy uses the popularity of WhatsApp to fight disinformation ahead of 2019 general elections. Moreover, in the context of the elections there is a certain fact-checking hype between politicians. For instance, Indian politician Raj Thackeray, even though not running for elections, organises big political gatherings with voters to debunk disinformation spread by the Indian Prime Minister. In response, the Bharatiya Janata Party (Prime Minister’s party) has organised similar meetings using the same fact-checking arguments against Mr. Thackeray.

EU elections news and fact-checks of the week

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Calendar and announcements

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EU DisinfoLab is looking for a trainee from July 2019.

See all past and upcoming events in our agenda