Hello and welcome to this new edition of Disinfo Update, a bi-weekly selection of news and events from the disinformation field, from across the world.
Today’s edition will get you to dig into the European sphere, from the European elections dates to the infamous EMFA file and the media exemption, again, and Twitter coming out of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. But outside of that bubble, you’ll get to learn more about the upcoming disinfo events, news, and the most recent job offers to join the field.
On that note, as we prepare to bid farewell to Rita Jonušaitė and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors, we are seeking a talented Policy and Advocacy Coordinator to join our dynamic team in Brussels. If you know someone with the necessary skills and enthusiasm for this role, don’t hesitate to spread the word around!
And to all of you who have registered for #Disinfo2023 and are looking forward to learning more, updates and confirmation emails will be arriving soon. If you haven’t registered yet, don’t miss out! Secure your spot here!
Enjoy the read!
Disinfo news & updates
- Get ready. The dates for the 2024 European elections have been released: they will take place on 6-9 June. We’ve gathered factsheets about the European landscape of disinformation here to equip you prior to those elections where citizens from 27 different member states will elect 705 MEPs to serve from 2024 to 2029.
- Meta fined for GDPR violation as the regulation turns five. While last week marked the fifth anniversary of the entry into force of Europe’s landmark privacy rules – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) -, the EU fined Meta a record 1.2 billion euros for moving EU Facebook users’ data into the U.S., in violation of the regulation, on 22 May.
- Alarming. Last week, Meta proceeded to another round of massive layoffs, which, according to this article, includes dissolving a team working on a fact-checking project “The fact-checking tool, which had initial buy-in from executives and was still in a testing phase early this year, was completely dissolved, the sources said.”
- Fight disinformation and enhance transparency. BBC News has launched BBC Verify. This team of 60 journalists, “with a range of forensic investigative skills and open source intelligence (Osint) capabilities at their fingertips”, will address the threat of disinformation and build trust.
- First U.S. state to ban TikTok. After the Montana Governor signed the legislation prohibiting mobile application stores from offering the app within the state by next year, Montana has become the first U.S. state to officially ban TikTok.
- Twexit. Twitter is officially out of the Code of Practice on disinformation but assures that it will comply with its obligations under the Digital Services Act (DSA). Regulators have warned that all options are on the table if Twitter fails to meet its obligations under the DSA. The European Commission stated that they are ready to enforce the DSA. To be fair, the Code of Practice (future Code of Conduct under the DSA) can be one of the options for risk mitigation measures on disinformation. Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) can choose other means. We will need to see what Twitter will put forward as a solution against disinformation after the deadline of 25 August by when platforms need to be ready with their risk assessments.
- Today is the deadline for contributions to the Delegated Act for Access to Data for vetted researchers under the DSA. Check out our contribution here!
- European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) discussions around the media exemption are ongoing. Yesterday, there was an Audiovisual Working Party meeting aiming to find a compromise on Article 17 based on the updated proposal from the Presidency, as some countries continue to worry about the impact it will have on the spread of disinformation. While the proposal still contains the media exemption, the latest version we saw does not define the time the media has to challenge the content moderation decision before it takes effect. Instead, it refers to the principle of proportionality taking into account the potential harm to users. Wanna hear more? Tune in on this EOOH podcast where we discuss the EMFA and the media exemption. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) rapporteurs will talk about compromise amendments on 6 June, including one proposing the deletion of Article 17 (amendment 967). Reach out to key MEPs to express your support for this amendment, and reject the media exemption!
- Last week, our President Diana Wallis met with the Vice President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová. On the agenda were discussions around the media exemption, the upcoming Defence of Democracy package, and the support needed for the counter-disinformation community.
What we’re reading and exploring
- Misunderstanding misinformation. In this piece, Claire Wardle, co-founder and co-director of the Information Futures Lab, and Professor of the Practice at the Brown School of Public Health, sheds light on the pitfalls of focusing on individual posts of mis and disinformation. She explores how this prevents us from grasping the broader context, and from comprehending the motivations of why people share disinformation online.
- Science Hashtags. This “How Science Gets Drawn Into Global Conspiracy Narratives” paper from Trisha Meyer, Tom Willaert, and Marc Tuters, digs into how conspiracy theorists are using science hashtags to promote their narratives.
- DSA Handbook. Democracy Reporting International has just released a DSA guide on how civil society organisations can engage and support the DSA implementation.
This week’s recommended read
Ana Romero Vicente, Researcher at EU DisinfoLab, recommends diving into a slightly more philosophical reading than usual this week! This publication invites us to stop and reflect on how the current technological explosion should be put at the service of humanity. In this interview by Issue.org, Tristan Harris delves into the challenge of online misinformation, ways to govern artificial intelligence, and a vision of technology that empowers democracy. Harris is co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and just spoke at the Nobel Prize Summit 2023.
We began to understand that AI has unpredictable capabilities and consequences, and that might affect misinformation. On this, Harris reflects on the need for an ethic for AI, a kind of Hippocratic oath for technologists, although alone, it would not be enough. In this interview, Harris asks us to imagine a world where AI understands the natural regenerative capacities or pathways of social fabric. He also wonders, among other things, if we wouldn’t do better if we had a slower, more thoughtful information-sharing economy.
The latest from EU DisinfoLab
- Join our Brussels team! As Rita Jonušaitė will soon be embarking on new adventures, we are actively recruiting a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator. Up for the challenge? You have until 20 June to apply. Don’t miss the chance to work for a dynamic and international team! More information about this job position can be found here.
- Mark your calendars. We have two webinars in the pipeline, so make sure to mark the dates before registrations open!
- On June 28, from 14:00 to 15:00, we’ll host a webinar presenting the European disinformation landscape based on the various country disinformation factsheets we have gathered thanks to our community of counter-disinformation experts.
- On July 3, from 14:00 to 15:00, block your date for a webinar on climate change disinformation.
- #Disinfo2023. Don’t forget to register now for your annual disinformation conference to be held in Krakow, on 11-12 October.
- 5-7 June: re:publica 23, the festival for the digital society, will take place in Berlin. We are taking part in a panel on the DSA, “Going forward disinformation will have a price tag, or: What the EU’s Digital Services Act will bring”. Join us for the conversation if you are in Berlin!
- 6 June: “Democracy Alive: The Brussels Summit” is organised by the European Movement International. Alexandre Alaphilippe will participate in the panel discussion on “The assault on truth: Disinformation and the narrative war”. To join him and register, it’s here!
- 20 June: Viginum is organising an afternoon of meetings and debates around information manipulation.
- 27 June: Digital Services Act Stakeholder event organised by the European Commision. Don’t miss the opportunity to exchange and present your views! Register here.
- 28-30 June: Hosted by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute in partnership with SNUFactCheck, GlobalFact 10 is the 10th Global Fact-Checking Summit, which will take place in Seoul, South Korea, and online.
- 29 June: “Meet the Future of AI”, an event jointly organised by four Horizon research projects developing novel AI techniques to tackle online disinformation will address a variety of issues and challenges around generative AI and countering sophisticated and advanced disinformation. Join Alexandre, who will chair a panel on “Policy Implications and Challenges to Fight Disinformation”. Register here.
- 27-28 July: Register here for the Cambridge Disinformation Summit, a hybrid event gathering global thought leaders to discuss strategic disinformation.
- 11-12 October: Make sure to register for #Disinfo2023, which will take place in Krakow! Sign up here.
- EU DisinfoLab is recruiting a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator. More information here.
- Access Now has several openings available here.
- AI Forensics is hiring an Adversarial Mobile Engineer.
- Democracy Reporting International is seeking a Project Coordinator.
- ISD UK is hiring a Senior Business Development Manager. ISD US is accepting applications for a Senior Digital Policy Manager and a Foundation and Major Gifts Manager. ISD Germany is also accepting applications for an Operations Coordinator role.
- The DFR Lab is hiring for the Young Global Professionals Program.
- The European Endowment for Democracy is recruiting a Grants Assistant Coordinator(s).