Disinfo Update 23/11/2022

Good morning, Disinfo update readers!

First, we need you for our next technical document! We plan to release soon a document on Telegram OSINT investigations. Feel free to drop here the best reads you’ve got so we can include them in our resource.

On Friday 18 November we had the great honour of welcoming Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa to our EU DisinfoLab’s office for a small convening with civil society organisations and journalists. We discussed how the counter-disinformation community countering in Europe needs more protection from threats, whether from harassment, death threats, or cyberattacks. We also shared thoughts about EU regulations, such as the DSA and the EMFA, and the danger of specific carve-outs, such as the media exemption.

Thank you to the European External Action Service and Lutz Güllner’s team for this fantastic opportunity.

Enjoy the read!

Disinfo news and updates

  • On the initiative of MEPs Nathalie Loiseau and Andrus Ansip, 39 Members of the European Parliament wrote to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Joseph Borrell to request the suspension of the broadcasting of Russian channels by European satellite operators. You can find their letter here. This is a major political step in responding to the Stop Bloodcating Coalition! work fighting against the collaboration of European satellite operators (Eutelsat S.A. and SES) with Russian companies.
  • Last week the European Fact-Checking Standards Network hosted a conference presenting the European Code of Standards for Independent Fact-Checking organisations and its Governance Body in Brussels. The Governance body members also met stakeholders bilaterally to introduce the Code and their future plans. See more here.

EU policy monitor 

  • European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) – Who’s in charge?
    • Is CULT leading in the Parliament? The Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) has been pre-designated as the committee responsible for EMFA. Other Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) have been asked to give an opinion. But the game is still ongoing as the Committees can still challenge this and claim more competencies. The competencies question should be resolved by the end of November.
    • In the Council: hot potato for the Swedes. The Council on its side is soon to conclude its first examination of the text (also by the end of November) while the drafting of the General Approach is foreseen under the Swedish Presidency.
    • What’s our role? Meanwhile, the community’s effort shall focus to make sure the media exemption is not coming back will be crucial throughout the legislative process. The latest on this is here
  • Who’s the VLOP? Digital Services Act (DSA) came into force on 16 November. Platforms have three months to report their active user numbers to the Commission (by 17 February 2023) so it can assess which of them will be considered as Very Large Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Search Engines (VLOSEs). ). The DSA regime will be up and running in 2023 for platforms that have more than 45 million users, before it kicks in for the rest of the platforms at the beginning of 2024. 
  • How to improve the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence? The joint draft report by the FEMM and LIBE Committees was expected in December but was pushed to 12 January 2023 with a postponed amendment deadline. You can see our suggestions for the Directive and how it could and should address Gender Based Disinformation here

What we’re reading 

  • US Midterms. The BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media correspondent Marianna Spring ran a two-month experiment to investigate what voters are being recommended online ahead of the US midterms. Setting up a series of profiles on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter publicly showing various political and ethnic backgrounds, she found that a Trump-backing female voter was the one most frequently exposed to violent and misleading content.
  • Jailed for disinformation. AFP reported that a police officer in Spain has been jailed for 15 months after falsely accusing a migrant of rape on Twitter, AFP reports. He is one of the first people in Spain to be given a prison sentence for spreading disinformation deliberately through social media. He had claimed that a video shot in China showed a Moroccan migrant attacking a woman in Catalonia. 

The latest from EU DisinfoLab

  • Pre-bunking. Our latest blogpost displays how disinformative narratives on the monkeypox epidemic were recycled from the Covid-19 pandemic. The analysis explores how recurrent hoaxes may offer an opportunity for the counter-disinformation community to predict and tackle the next infodemic.    
  • Gender-based disinformation. As a result of a collaboration between EU DisinfoLab and #ShePersisted, we produced two complementary documents on gender-based disinformation:
  • Conference materials. The #Disinfo2022 materials – including presentations, recordings, and pictures – will be available from our conference page in the next few days! Bear with us!

Events & announcements

  • 29 November. Fighting Misinformation online, a Google summit in Brussels and online. Register here.
  • Google launches ‘Tech for Social Good’ challenge in Europe. European nonprofits, civic entities, academic and research institutions, and social enterprises can, for the first time, apply to receive pro-bono technical help from a team of Fellows for up to six months, helping them transform their organisation’s work. A total of 15 million EUR in support is available. More information here.
  • 2 December. The European Media and Information Fund (EMIF) is hosting its first Annual Event in Lisbon. Click here to register. 
  • RightsCon Costa Rica. The call for proposals for RightsCon Costa Rica is now open until 12 January 2023. 


  • The European Commission is hiring experts to enforce the Digital Services Act. Are you a tech expert or data scientist passionate about social media algorithms? Or a lawyer interested in the online economy, wanting to make a difference? Or an economist, political or social scientist who has thought deeply about how online platforms are reshaping our world? 
  • The European Institute of Peace is looking for a Technical Advisor for the coordination and drafting of a psycho-social impact study on the victims of ISIS in North East Syria within the Peace Practice and Innovation (PPI) unit. Deadline: as soon as possible.
  • Global Disinformation Index is recruiting a Project Manager.
  • Graphika is recruiting an Editor and Insights Manager.

Disinfo Update 02/11/2022

This Disinfo Update will provide you with insights on the latest disinformation news including how Google’s Ad unit makes disinfo profitable, the disinformation law in Turkey and the September disinfo trends from our researchers.