Starts: October 26, 2021
Ends: October 27, 2021
Brussels, Belgium

#Disinfo2021: October 26 & 27

EU DisinfoLab’s annual conference will take place this year on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 26 and 27, here in Brussels at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel. The Coronavirus required our 2020 conference be held online, but this October, we are returning to our treasured, physical format for the 2021 edition. 

The full programme is available below. Please do note that the programme is liable to change between now and the conference.

Pre-Registration is Closed

Pre-Registration has been CLOSED due to limitations on the venue’s capacity in compliance with sanitary restrictions. We cannot accept more than 175 guests in the conference room. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes. You can still access the registration form to request a place on the waiting list. However we should emphasize it is extremely unlikely that any places will open up from this list. Priority on the waiting list will be given to professionals working in the field. We also note that only one person from an organisation might be accepted, in case of multiple pre-registrations from the same organisation. We ask that you please do not put yourself on the waiting list if you are unable to satisfy all Covid-19 requirements.

COVID-19 POLICIES – How to enter the conference venue (as of 15/10/2021): 

We are prioritising the health and safety of participants above all else. We will require attendees and speakers to adhere to the sanitary measures required of gatherings in Brussels along with additional precautions. 

We’ve created a Covid-19 travel requirements flow chart to help you understand what you need to show to enter Belgium and to enter the venue depending on your situation. The information on this document is valid as of October 15th, 2021. Find out what you need to show here.

  • If you are coming from outside the EU, you will need to be fully vaccinated  to enter Belgium.
  • In addition, everyone will have to present an EU Digital Covid Certificate to enter the conference venue. 
  • For UK visitors, NHS Pass QR codes will be accepted, but before traveling, you will have to provide a negative PCR test at the border. 
  • If you do not have an EU Digital Covid Certificate, you will need to show a negative antigen test: these rapid (15 minute) tests will provide you with an official EU Digital Covid Certificate, valid for 48 hours. 
  • In addition to the Belgian requirements, face masks will be compulsory inside the conference venue.

More Info on Covid-19 Travel Requirements

  • More about the EU Digital Covid Certificate can be found here.
  • The Covid-19 measures in Belgium can be found here and measures specific to Brussels can be found here


Tuesday, October 26

8h00 – 9h00: Registration and welcome coffee

9h – 9h10: Welcome remarks by Diana Wallis, President of the EU DisinfoLab and Alexandre Alaphilippe, Executive Director of EU DisinfoLab

9h10 – 9h40: Opening Keynote, Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat

9h40 – 10h15: Keynote interview, Dr. Mathias Wargon, Head of Emergency Department at Saint-Denis Hospital (Paris region), interviewed by Aude Favre, jounalist and founder of WTFake

Covid19 disinformation: feedback from French emergency rooms

10h15 – 10h45: Video Interview: Sophie Zhang, Facebook Whistleblower

When it’s time to blow the whistle

10h45 – 11h15: Coffee break

11h15 – 12h00: Presentations: Disinfo for Hire: micro-influencers, troll armies, and influence buying in the modern disinformation economy.

Disinformation is a lucrative business and often outsourced for and performed by skilled professionals and commercial marketing firms. Outsourcing provides plausible deniability to clients who wish to remain one step removed.

Moderated by Chloe Colliver, Head of Digital Policy and Strategy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue

  • Anna Gielewska, Vice-chairman of the Reporters Foundation (Poland)
  • Ieva Ivanauskaitė, Head Of Business Development at DELFI Lietuva
  • Charlie Haynes, Reporter and Producer at the BBC

12h00 – 13h30: Lunch break  

13h30 – 14h15: Panel Discussion, Disinfo from the Top: How should platforms tackle disinformation in global political speech?

When he was deplatformed by US social media companies, the former US president had been a “superspreader in chief. But how have platforms dealt with disinformation coming from the political ranks in other countries? What precedent is set, and what are the consequences of platforms’ differential actions according to political context, language-market, etc.

Moderated by Gregory Rhode, Board Member, EU DisinfoLab

  • Emerson T Brooking, Senior Resident Fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council
  • Domen Savic, Director of Drzavljan D (Slovenian ngo Citizen D)
  • Stephen Turner, Director of EU Public Policy at Twitter

14h15 – 15h15: Presentations, Measuring the Impact of Disinformation

One of the greatest challenges in the study of influence operations and other disinformation campaigns remains the challenge of measuring their impact on societies and individuals, human rights and democratic institutions. Three presentations will offer frameworks for understanding and evaluating the concrete impact of digital disinformation, which is essential for taking an appropriate, necessary, and proportionate response. Followed by a group Q and A.

Moderated by Flora Carmichael, Assistant Editor & Editorial Lead at the BBC

  • Ben Nimmo, Head of Global Threat Intelligence Strategy at Facebook
  • Ruurd Oosterwoud, Founder of DROG
  • Georgios Giannopoulos, Team Leader at the European Commission Joint Research Center, Technology Innovation in Security Unit

15h15 – 15h45: Coffee break

15h45 – 17h15: Presentations, Understanding Disinformation Across Europe

While disinformation is a universal phenomenon it will adapt to its surrounding context. Through a series of short presentations, we will gain insight into the disinformation landscape in individual EU member states and regional trends. These sessions will be introduced by a representative of The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), the EU’s new hub to support the independent community working to combat disinformation.

Moderated by Dr. Lisa Ginsborg, Training and Research at EDMO at the European Digital Media Observatory

  • Daniel Fazekas, Founder of Bamako Social
  • Dr. Martin Innes, Director of the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University
  • Viktoras Daukšas, Head of Debunk EU
  • Dr. Myriam Redondo, Digital Verification Team at VerificaRTVE

Wednesday, October 27

8h00 – 9h15 Registration and welcome coffee

9h15 – 9h20: Brief welcome remarks by EU DisinfoLab

9h20 – 10h15: Presentations, Building More Trustworthy Information Environments

Normative initiatives like labels, ratings, and rankings, as well as tools for verification, allow us to differentiate reliable
sources of information from unreliable ones.
Through a few brief presentations, we will look at how these kinds of normative initiatives can be used to reinforce our trust in online content.

Moderated by Clare Melford, Executive Director, Global Disinformation Index

  • Olaf Steenfadt, Project Director of the Journalism Trust Initiative at Reporters Without Borders
  • Pascal Doucet-Bon, Deputy Director of News Department at FranceTV
  • Denis Teyssou, Editorial Manager at Agence France-Presse (AFP) Medialab

10h15 – 10h45: Coffee Break

10h45 – 11h30: Panel Discussion, The Future of Open Source Intelligence: Perspectives in Addressing Foreign Information Manipulation

In a conversation about some of the biggest challenges facing the field of OSINT today, we hope to find our footing on pressing issues related to transparency, accountability, information sharing, data protection, and sanctions for repeat perpetrators of disinformation. We will also discuss OSINT’s relationship to adjacent fields like journalism, intelligence, and policing.

Moderated by Larysa Lacko, Counter Hostile Information and Disinformation Officer at NATO

  • Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat
  • Lutz Guellner, Head of Division, Strategic Communications at the European External Action Service (EEAS)
  • Lukas Andriukaitis, Associate Director at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab)

11h30 – 11h45: Presentation, Final Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Disinformation

Ms. Sandra Kalniete, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign interference in all the democratic processes in the EU, including disinformation in (INGE) will present the findings of her Final Report for the committee.

11h45 – 12h00: Video Message from Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan

12h00- 13h00: Lunch Break

13h00 – 14h00: Presentations, Climate Change and Anti-Science Disinformation

The challenge of climate change disinformation and anti-science disinformation more broadly – while not new phenomena – are increasingly understood as a threat to our physical and digital environments. Three presentations will help us understand the nature of this challenge, what is at stake, and what we can do about it.

Moderated by Ms. Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Member of the European Parliament

  • Alexandre Brutelle, Investigative Journalist and Co-founder of the Environmental Investigative Forum
  • Jennie King, Senior Policy Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue
  • Faye Holder, Lead Climate Lobbying Analyst for the oil, gas and mining sectors at Influence Map

14h00 – 14h45: Panel Discussion, Facing Disinformation as a Cybersecurity Threat

Because disinformation is by nature an online risk, it is a challenge for our cybersecurity governance and ecosystem to address. In order to fully safeguard our digital infrastructure, preserve information security, and guarantee a safe and trustworthy online environment, how should stakeholders come together to address disinformation and cybersecurity in the same breath?

Moderated by Liga Rozentale, Senior Director of European Government Affairs at Microsoft

  • Francesca Bosco, Chief of Staff at the CyberPeace Institute
  • Karoliina Ainge, Cybersecurity and Technology Lead at Independent Diplomat,  former Head of Estonian Cyber Security Policy
  • Mr. Bart Groothuis, Member of the European Parliament

14h45 – 15h15: Coffee break

15h15 – 15h30: Presentation, Digital Services Act: A state-of-play, presented by Thomas Grandjouan, Advocacy Coordinator at EU DisinfoLab

15h30 – 16h30: Panel Discussion, Legislating on Disinformation: Defining a European Approach

What constitutes a European approach in legislating on disinformation? How do we integrate fundamental EU rights into a regulatory solution on disinformation? What impact will the Digital Services Act (DSA) have on the fight against disinformation? Panellists for this session are experts in EU policy and law, social media analytics and foreign interference and will discuss whether the EU’s DSA is capable of tackling disinformation

Moderated by Mathias Vermeulen, Public Policy Director at AWO

  • Paul F. Nemitz, Principal Advisor in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission
  • Josephine Ballon, Head of Legal at Hate Aid
  • Daniel Fazekas, Founder, Bakamo Social
  • Chloe Colliver, Head of Digital Policy and Strategy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue

16h30 – 16h45: Closing Keynote by Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency 

16h45 – 17h00 –  Closing remarks by Alexandre Alaphilippe, Executive Director of the EU DisinfoLab

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to attend the conference?

There is no fee to attend!

Q: Is there any possibility of virtual participation at the event?

We are planning an entirely physical event with no hybrid elements. Given our restrained resources and desire to gather the stakeholder community in person, we are focusing on ensuring a safe physical meeting space only. The event will not be videostreamed.