Disinfo Update 17/06/2019

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Back from RightsCon

Last week, human rights in the digital era conference RightsCon held it’s 8th edition in Tunis. The EU DisinfoLab had the chance to attend many sessions and to conduct a workshop on building cross-expertise to tackle disinformation. Here are our quick take-aways from RightsCon:

  • Disinformation is definitely a very global issue which calls for international regulation. But at the same time, its field impact could only be reduced by empowering local communities;
  • Disinformation operates differently in various communities. But, similar patterns are rising: the need to improve trust between stakeholders, to develop helpdesk to alert journalists when campaigns are unfolding, to build resilience within civil society;
  • Develop ethical standards for both investigative bodies and facts amplifiers as well as reinforcing clarity of sources of information was also discussed.

This clearly highlights the EU DisinfoLab mission to research and document disinformation cases, help to bridge communities and expertise at a local level while pushing for impactful regulation at the international level.

EU Code of Practice Against Disinformation: “last but not least”

Last Friday, Facebook, Google and Twitter have released their monthly reports on the EU Code of Practice Against Disinformation. It is to note that on 22 May 2019, Microsoft joined the Code of Practice and subscribed to all its commitments. Nevertheless, the trade associations subscribed to the Code, haven’t released their reports since January 2019. In our article you can find the summaries of all the reports of online platforms, as well as the main actions undertaken by the European Commission to tackle disinformation online.

At the same time, European institutions released a joined report on the implementation of the Action Plan Against Disinformation, in the context of the European parliamentary elections. The report does not identify cross-border disinformation campaign from external actors but collected evidence of sustained disinformation activities by Russian sources.

As for the next steps, the assessment by the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA), based on the monthly monitoring reports published by the platforms, will be adopted on 21/06. The Commission underlines that based on this assessment, further actions may be considered to ensure and improve long-term response to the threat.

Library

  • Digital marketer Mailchimp bans anti-vaccination content, following the similar actions taken by other tech companies including Facebook and Amazon.
  • A fake video of Mark Zuckerberg giving a sinister speech about the power of Facebook has been posted on Instagram. The company previously said it would not remove this type of videos.
  • The research piece ‘Democratic Defence Against Disinformation’ published by Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried from the Atlantic Council analyses the rapid development of policy responses of governments and social media companies to the challenge of disinformation.
  • After having been breached, WhatsApp said that the hack could come from “a government using surveillance technology, and it may have targeted human rights groups.”
  • Twitter updated its operation information archive with new accounts.
  • For TheNextWeb, today’s problem is not the offensive content that people can seek out on Youtube, but the content we don’t seek out. This article has analysed the presentation of Guillaume Chaslot, the Founder of AlgoTransparency, at the EU DisinfoLab Conference.

Calendar and announcements  

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