EU DisinfoLab 2024 Annual Conference

9-10 October, Riga, Latvia

As we count down the weeks to bringing our community together in Riga, we are thrilled to share the draft programme with you!

For two days, the conference will dive into the pressing issues of disinformation such as the impact of Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) on elections, the new paradigms of generative AI, cybersecurity, and the role of communities and partnerships. We’ll also explore global perspectives, and the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. We’re happy to have on board many esteemed speakers, including Nighat Dad, Imran Ahmed, Marie-Doha Besancenot, and Paula Gori, and representatives from Meta, the World Health Organization (WHO), Graphika, EU Commission, and Stanford University, among many others.

Discover the #Disinfo2024 programme, unfolding its content in three parallel tracks, below.

Don’t miss any part of this exciting programme! To join us on 9-10 October 2024 at the Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel in Riga, Latvia, request your tickets now!

Day 1 - 9 October 2024

Plenary

9:00

Opening

9:30

Interview

Invisibilising civil society: the ultimate target of propaganda

with Waad Al-Kateab (Filmmaker & Activist, Action For Sama) & Hamza Al-Kateab (Doctor & Activist, Action For Sama), interviewed by Liz Wahl

Journalists, whistle-blowers, activists but also doctors, artists, humanitarian workers… Often, the first targets of disinformation are the ones engaged to take care of the most vulnerable populations because of their deep commitment to truth and justice. This is why we wanted Waad and Hamza Al-Kateab, the director and protagnists of the awarded documentary For Sama to share insights from their own experience on how disinformation campaigns hinder humanitarian efforts and obstruct justice.

Waad Al-Kateab

Action For Sama

Hamza Al-Kateab

Action For Sama

Liz Wahl

Independent journalist

10:15 Coffee break

Track 1

11:00

Panel

Election year: a live stress test for democracy against FIMI

with Paula Gori (EDMO)

This session will unfold the disinformation observed during the last election cycles including Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI). The discussion will expand to consider the measures being taken, the successes and challenges remaining, a few weeks before crucial US elections.

Paula Gori

EDMO

Other speakers to be announced

Track 2

11:00

Session

Cybersecurity and Information operation: converging interests

with Daniel Kapellman (Mandiant) & Hervé Letoqueux (Viginum)

Many stakeholders in this field observe convergence between Information operations and cybersecurity operations. One good example is the growth of hacktivist movements at the cross-border between these two fields. This session will also look at how a cybersecurity framework can help better monitor these operations.

Daniel Kapellman

Mandiant

Hervé Letoqueux

Viginum

Track 3

11:00

Session

Biases, polarisation, and psychology: human beings as part of the problem and the solution

with Robin Blom (Ball State University)

This session delves into how polarisation, cognitive biases, and psychology influence public discourse and the spread of disinformation. Considerations on cognitive biases, influence techniques, and trust cycles will emerge from compelling case studies, introducing tools to better reach when our minds are confronted with false or inaccurate information.

Robin Blom

Ball State University

Other speakers to be announced

12:00 Lunch break

Track 1

13:15

Session

Artificial intelligence, artificial information? A new acceleration of the (dis)information cycle

with Cristina Lopez G (Graphika), Matyas Bohacek (Stanford University) & Christo Buschek (Der SPIEGEL / Paper Trail Media)

From AI-generated news channel to the investigation of model biases, AI is cooked at all sauces. This session convenes experts to explore the complex threats that artificial intelligence (AI) – and generative AI – present to news availability and integrity, public access to information and how online communities are getting together to abuse the safeguards implemented.

Cristina Lopez G

Graphika

Matyas Bohacek

Stanford University

Christo Buschek

Der SPIEGEL / Paper Trail Media

14:20

Session

Leveraging AI to counter disinformation

with Kalina Bontcheva (University of Sheffield, VeraAI)

Can the democratisation of access to AI capacities support the counter-disinformation community? In this session we’ll look into how AI can be leveraged to improve research, investigation and hold powerful stakeholders accountable.

Kalina Bontcheva

University of Sheffield, VeraAI

Other speakers to be announced

Track 2

13:15

Panel

Doppelganger: the need for a community approach

with Brian Liston (Recorded Future) & Alexandre Alaphilippe (EU DisinfoLab)

Is it cyber? Is it hybrid? Is it IO? Since 2022, the Doppelganger operation has been ticking all the boxes of the Russian disinformation playbook. But when such operations are designed, how is the counter-disinformation community reacting? In this session, we’ll try to discuss how different stakeholders, even coming from diverse environments, have been able to cooperate together, designing the first steps of a community approach to disinformation.

Brian Liston

Recorded Future

Alexandre Alaphilippe

EU DisinfoLab

14:20

Panel

Disrupting disinformation: combatting Information Operations effectively

with Carl Miller (Demos) & Viktors Makarovs (Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

This session will delve into how disruption of Information Operations (IOs) and FIMI can happen. We’ll investigate enforcing sanctions as an answer to these operations, considering legal frameworks, international cooperation, and the challenges faced in ensuring compliance and effectiveness in the fight against disinformation.

Carl Miller

Demos

Viktors Makarovs

Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Track 3

13:15

Session

Concerning disinformative trends: safeguarding public health and climate action

with Elodie Ho (the World Health Organization – Africa Infodemic Response Alliance), Aleksandra Atanasova (Reset.Tech) & Pragnya Senapati (Ripple Research)

This session addresses the intertwined challenges of health disinformation and climate disinformation. Inaccurate coverage discouraging life-saving vaccines, advertising unapproved medical supplements, or spreading lies about climate change and its impact on our existence will animate the conversation, highlighting the need for a unified response to protect public health and climate action initiatives.

Elodie Ho

the World Health Organization (WHO) - Africa Infodemic Response Alliance

Aleksandra Atanasova

Reset.Tech

Pragnya Senapati

Ripple Research

14:20

Session

Community-driven change: collaborative efforts from civil society

with Amaury Lesplingart (Check First), Catalina Gutu / Martina Karaparusheva (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ, project Info Trust Alliance – Moldova) & Shannon Raj Singh (Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue)

This session explores the essential role of communities and partnerships in tackling complex challenges through strategic communication and technology. The focus will be on exploring cross-regional and cross-sector collaborations to engage in the fight against disinformation and malign influences collectively.

Amaury Lesplingart

Check First

Catalina Gutu / Martina Karaparusheva

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ, project Info Trust Alliance – Moldova

Shannon Raj Singh

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

15:20 Coffee break

Track 1

16:00

Session to be announced

Track 2

16:00

Panel

“We’re not afraid”: pushing back disinformers

with Ilya Ber (Provereno/Delfi), Lola Tagaeva (Vertska) & Imran Ahmed (Center for Countering Digital Hate), chaired by Gunta Sloga (the Baltic Center for Media Excellence)

Harassment, lawfare, public defamation: the current threat level against the community puts the core of civil society engagement at risk. This session aims to share positive examples of brave individuals and organisations with our community. We will hear from Russian journalists who had to flee their country to continue their crucial work of bringing the truth to the Russian population. We’ll also hear from Imran Ahmed, who will share his insights on how to resist the harassment strategies designed to hurt the CCDH. Each of them had to make hard choices, sometimes rebuild everything from scratch, and yet, they kept up with their ethics and courage to stand up against disinformers.

Ilya Ber

Provereno/Delfi

Lola Tagaeva

Vertska

Imran Ahmed

Center for Countering Digital Hate

Gunta Sloga

The Baltic Center for Media Excellence

Session in partnership with the Baltic Center for Media Excellence

Track 3

16:00

Session

Not all facts: addressing identity-based disinformation and defending rights
with Sanne Thijssen (Shake the dust), Patryk Grażewicz (Pravda) & Vic Parsons (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) (tbc)

This session addresses the growing challenge of gender- and identity-based disinformation that threatens rights under the guise of defending conservative values. Experts will share their findings on tackling disinformation and fearmongering attacks against marginalised communities, presenting global efforts to track and expose misinformation surrounding reproductive rights, and exploring current recommendations and actionable strategies for addressing this dangerous phenomenon effectively.

Sanne Thijssen

Shake the dust

Patryk Grażewicz

Pravda

Vic Parsons (tbc)

The Bureau of Investigative journalism

Plenary

17:30

Screening

For Sama

with the presence of the creators and protagonists of the film: Waad Al-Kateab (Filmmaker & Activist, Action For Sama) & Hamza Al-Kateab (Doctor & Activist, Action For Sama)

FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. 

Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as she wrestles with an impossible choice – whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.

Waad Al-Kateab

Action For Sama

Hamza Al-Kateab

Action For Sama

19:45

Social event

Historic Nighttime Guided Tour of Riga

Join us for a one-hour night-time tour of Riga where the true facts of history meet disinformation mingling. Led by expert guides, the tour will venture through the city’s key historical landmarks and hidden gems, and create lasting memories in an intellectually stimulating evening. Please note, the event is subject to weather conditions, so bring rain gear as a precaution. We recommend having dinner before the tour.

The guided tour is offered by EU DisinfoLab.

Day 2 - 10 October 2024

Track 1

9:00

Session

Leveraging platform transparency to detect and report on disinformation

with a Meta representative

Concerns are blossoming regarding the provisions for access to platforms’ data under the DSA. While the delegated act is expected to clarify, researchers, civil society, and journalists are faced with the deprecation of CrowdTangle, different content and advertising libraries or the expensive Research API from X. In this session, platforms’ representatives will present the tools they’re making available to the community. A rare opportunity to ask all the questions about how they will enable more research.

Speakers to be announced

Delegated acts, Access to data, “Strengthened” Code of Practice reborn-as-Code-of-Conduct; the DSA update is designed to update you on the latest from the regulatory front line.

Joe McNamee

EU DisinfoLab

10:05

Keynote

The DSA Update

with Joe McNamee (EU DisinfoLab) 

Track 2

9:00

Session

Bearing the truth: the legacy of Russian disinformation

with Vera Tolz (The University of Manchester) & Kevin Limonier (GEODE), chaired by Susan Morgan (EU DisinfoLab)

This session focuses on the multifaceted history of Russian disinformation, digging into the origins, evolution, and tactics of campaigns that have been and will be shaping the geopolitical landscapes over the next decades.

Vera Tolz

The University of Manchester

Kevin Limonier

GEODE

Susan Morgan

EU DisinfoLab

10:05

Session

Contemporary active responses: Learning from Kyiv

with Marie-Doha Besancenot (NATO)

This session will delve into disinformation surrounding the conflict in Ukraine over two and a half years since Russia’s invasion. How are they coping with active disinformation measures on their land, and what have we learnt from their responses?

Marie-Doha Besancenot

NATO

Other speakers to be announced

Track 3

9:00

Session

WTF (what’s the fact-checking): navigating challenges and innovations

with Theodore Caponis (Siren Analytics), Hendrik Bruns (The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre – EC JRC) & Clara Jimenez (EFCSN, Maldita.es) (tbc)

Often framed as a first-line response, fact-checking is experiencing a fast and evolving growth pace. What are the challenges faced by fact-checkers nowadays? How do they reinvent themselves and work in a cooperative manner? This session will explore how the community embraces new challenges to stay at the forefront of deconstructing narratives.

Theodore Caponis

Siren Analytics

Hendrik Bruns

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre - EC JRC

Clara Jimenez (TBC)

EFCSN, Maldita.es

10:05

Session

The OSINT session

with Lea Ronzaud (Graphika)

How can a simple online video help you identify a group of Russian hackers? How can OSINT be applied for financial investigations to hold accountable terrorist groups? In this session, OSINT practitioners will guide you through the latest OSINT techniques and investigations. Beware of the rabbit hole.

Lea Ronzaud

Graphika

Other speakers to be announced

11:05 Coffee break

Track 1

11:45

Panel

Can the DSA achieve its objectives?

with Prabhat Agrawal (European Commission) (tbc) & Martin Husovec (The London School of Economics and Political Science LSE) (tbc)

Perhaps no EU regulation was so highly anticipated and widely discussed. But engaging communication creates high expectations. In this session, we’ll talk with regulators and academics on how to manage these expectations, and make sure the Digital Services Act (DSA) can achieve what it was designed for.

Prabhat Agrawal (tbc)

European Commission

Martin Husovec (TBC)

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Track 2

11:45

Session

Disinformation as a Weapon: The Delegitimisation of Humanitarian Aid in the Israel-Gaza War

with Emerson Brooking (DFRLab) & Dina Sadek (DFRLab)

This panel will explore the tactics and impact of disinformation and influence operations about humanitarian organisations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With a particular focus on disinformation against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the panel will examine the real-life impact of influence operations targeting voters and lawmakers and polluting the information landscape.

Emerson Brooking

DFRLab

Dina Sadek

DFRLab

Track 3

11:45

Session

Mission NOT accomplished: unintended fallbacks from investigations

with Jack Brewster (NewsGuard) & Victoire Rio (What To Fix), chaired by Maria Giovanna Sessa (EU DisinfoLab)

What has the community-fighting disinformation learned from past mistakes? What are the unintended consequences of fighting disinformation? What happens when defenders mislead, and what can we do next with what we learned?

Jack Brewste

NewsGuard

Victoire Rio

What To Fix

Maria Giovanna Sessa

EU DisinfoLab

12:30 Lunch break

Track 1

13:45

Session

Can advertising cash stop funding misinformation trash?

with Arielle Garcia (Check My Ads) & Victoire Rio (What To Fix)

Is the online adtech industry inherently fraudulent? This question arises because the ad tech industry appears to have failed to act on rampant fraud and reputational damage to brands for years and publishers’ efforts to clean up the sector have fallen flat. In this session, we’ll examine why the money spent on advertising is ending up in disinformers pockets,  making adtech cash a driver of online disinformation.

Arielle Garcia

Check My Ads

Victoire Rio

What To Fix

Track 2

13:45

Panel

Challenges faced by the Global Majority in building resilience against disinformation

with Ange Kasongo (Balobaki Check) & Nighat Dad (Digital Rights Foundation) (tbc), chaired by Dr. Rihards Bambals (Latvian State Chancellery)

What are the main challenges faced by the counter-disinformation community outside Europe? This session will focus on building resilience and capacity outside the global North. Hostile environment, skill gap, talent retention – the speakers in this session will share their struggle and their solutions to empower a diverse community.

Ange Kasongo

Balobaki Check

Nighat Dad (tbc)

Digital Rights Foundation

Dr. Rihards Bambals

Latvian State Chancellery

Track 3

13:45

Keynote

Cultural Learnings of Europe for Make Benefit Glorious NGO tackling disinformation – Pre-subsequent session

with Alexandre Alaphilippe & Gary Machado (EU DisinfoLab)

In 2017, two idealistic thirty-somethings set out to tackle disinformation by creating an NGO. Fast forward a few years, several kilograms, and countless grey hairs later, they’re here to share their rollercoaster journey. Join us for a session filled with humour and thought-provoking moments as they recount the challenges, and even detrimental behaviours by the most unexpected actors that tested their resolve to keep the organisation alive in 2024.

Alexandre Alaphilippe

EU DisinfoLab

Gary Machado

EU DisinfoLab

14:45 Coffee Break

Plenary

15:25

Panel

Session title tbc

with Melissa Fleming (United Nations) & Elisa Pilichowski (OECD) (tbc)

To be announced

Melissa Fleming

United Nations

Elisa Pilichowski (tbc)

OECD

16:15

Interactive session

Chaired by Alexandre Alaphilippe & Gary Machado (EU DisinfoLab)

16:40

KEYNOTE TO BE ANNOUNCED

17:00

Closing session

With the support of:

Main sponsors:

Break sponsors:

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