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. 

A draft of the programme is available below. The current programme is liable to change between now and the conference.

Pre-Registration in still open at this time. Please complete the form below to pre-register for our annual conference.

Pre-registration form

PLEASE NOTE: Due to a limited number of seats, completing this form does not guarantee your attendance. Completing this form indicates your interest in pre-registration. Your registration will only be considered valid once you receive a confirmation email. Please make sure to include an email address that will be used for all communication.

COVID-19 POLICY: We are prioritising the health and safety of participants above all else. All attendees at the conference will be expected to respect Belgium’s Covid-19 regulations, regulations specific to the city of Brussels, and the Renaissance Hotel’s policies, as well as additional precautions requested. The Covid-19 measures in Belgium can be found here and measures specific to Brussels can be found here. The Renaissance Hotel’s Covid-19 commitments can be found here and their international commitments through Marriot can be found here. In addition, wearing a face mask will be compulsory inside the conference venue.

Tuesday, October 26

8h00 – 9h00: Registration and welcome coffee

9h – 9h10: Welcome remarks by EU DisinfoLab

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

9h40 – 10h15: Keynote interview, Dr. Mathias Wargon, emergency physician, interviewed by Aude Favre, jounalist and founder of WTFake

10h15 – 10h45: Keynote Interview: Sophie Zhang, Facebook whistleblower

10h45 – 11h15: Coffee break

11h15 – 12h00: Panel Discussion: 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

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, Twitter Director of EU Public Policy

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.

  • Ben Nimmo, Head of Global Threat Intelligence Strategy at Facebook, The Breakout Scale
  • Ruurd Oosterwoud, Founder of DROG, presentation on AdTac
  • Georgios Giannopoulos, European Commission Joint Research Center, Hybrid Threats Flagship Project

15h15 – 15h45: Coffee break

15h45 – 17h15: Presentations, Understanding Disinformation Across the EU

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, the European Digital Media Observatory

  • Daniel Fazekas, Founder of Bamako Social (Hungary and Eastern Europe)
  • Dr. Martin Innes, Director of the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University (The German Federal Elections)
  • Viktoras Daukšas, Head of Debunk EU (Lithuania and the Baltics)
  • Dr. Myriam Redondo, Digital Verification Team at VerificaRTVE (Spain)
  • Tom Southern, Project Director, Zinc Network (The Balkans)

Social Event (upon registration)

Wednesday, October 27

8h00 – 9h00: Registration and welcome coffee

9h – 9h10: Brief welcome remarks by EU DisinfoLab

9h10 – 10h00: 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, Reporters Without Borders
  • Pascal Doucet-Bon, Deputy director of news department, FranceTV
  • Dr. Carolina Scarton, Academic Fellow at the Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield, WeVerify

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, European External Action Service (EEAS)
  • Camille Francois, Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika (TBC)

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 Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Member of the European Parliament

  • Alexandre Brutelle, 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 – 15h00: 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, Microsoft

  • Stéphane Duguin, CEO of the CyberPeace Institute
  • Karoliina Ainge,  Independent Diplomat’s Cybersecurity and Technology Lead,  former Head of Estonian Cyber Security Policy
  • Bart Groothuis, Member of the European Parliament

15h00 – 15h30: Coffee break

15h30 – 16h15: Panel Discussion, Advocating for an EU Approach to Disinformation

  • TBC

16h15 – 16h45: Closing Keynote by Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency 

16h45 – 17h00 –  Closing remarks

Frequently Asked Questions

Traveling right now is… complicated. We cannot promise to answer all your questions, but here are a few that we can help you with:

Q: I am fully vaccinated but my vaccine is not EU approved. What do I need to show?

A: If your vaccine is not an EU approved vaccine, you can show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival in Belgium. Be sure to check for any other travel, testing, or quarantine requirements from your country of departure.

Q: By when do I have to confirm my presence?

Pre-registration is set to stay open until October 17th, at which point registration will be definitively closed. However we may need to close registration earlier to comply with capacity limitations on the venue, if we need to reduce the size of the event.

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.