EU DisinfoLab is very excited that we’ll be co-hosting a Community Lab at RightsCon this year. Our session is titled: “Gender and disinformation: towards a gender-based approach”. You can register for RightsCon and join us here!

Disinfo News and Updates

  • Russia bans EU leaders. On Friday, Russia banned European Parliament President David Sassoli, European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová and other senior EU politicians from entering the country, in response to the EU’s sanctions on Russia.
  • Ghostwriter’s latest. The influence-operator that became known last year for its anti-NATO cyber-espionage activities has continued its operations. Security firms report on its recent narratives in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, and credential theft attacks on German politicians. Though suspected to be a state-sponsored actor, no attribution has been made.
  • G7 versus Disinfo. For the G7 meeting taking place this week, the UK is proposing an international effort to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation, asking the ministers to come up with a “a rapid rebuttal mechanism”.
  • TikTok TAC.  TikTok will open The European Transparency and Accountability Centre (TAC), analogous to its centre in the US, in an effort to increase transparency about the app for researchers and policymakers. The European TAC will begin virtually before opening a physical centre in Ireland in 2022.

EU Policy Monitor

In the EU Institutions

  • World Press Freedom Day. Yesterday for World Press Freedom Day, the EU announced its determination to counter disinformation and support sustainable business models for independent media, in and outside of the EU.
  • Digital Services Act. MEP Patrick Breyer has been appointed as rapporteur for the Digital Services Act in the LIBE committee, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
  • Digital Markets Act. The Greens have created an online consultation tool to gather public feedback on the Digital Markets Act. You can contribute up until May 23. 
  • TERREG. The controversial EU Terrorist Content Regulation has been adopted by the European Parliament. The regulation will oblige online platforms to remove or disable access to terrorist content within one hour of notification.

In Member States

  • Germany. Germany has launched a landmark case against Facebook, asking the company to remove reposts of illegal content. Currently content is removed only on a case by case basis.
  • Slovakia. In response to persistent influence operations and in solidarity with neighboring Czechia, Slovakia has expelled three Russian diplomats. 
  • Sweden. Sweden summoned the Russian ambassador to Stockholm on Saturday, denouncing Russia for sanctioning European Union officials, including a Swedish researcher.

The Latest from EU DisinfoLab

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How platforms are prioritising some EU member states in their COVID-19 disinformation responses. In an effort to assess the commitments of platform signatories of the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation towards individual member states, EU DisinfoLab analysed their monthly COVID-19 disinformation monitoring reports from August 2020 to March 2021. Take a look at our analysis here, led by Prof. Trisha Meyer of VUB.

EU DisinfoLab’s CIB Detection Tree has grown a second branch. This resource focuses on source assessment, or how to track who is coordinating and for what purpose.

Research, Reports, Catalogs…

  • The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) has released a guide to countering disinformation and promoting information integrity. The catalog gathers best practices from organisations worldwide and provides a database of “informational interventions” or actions that organisations have implemented.  
  • A report from the European Federation of Academies of Science and Humanities (ALLEA) discusses the consequences of science disinformation in climate change, vaccine hesitancy and pandemics and discusses the most prominent strategies to counter to counter it. The authors call for more European coordination, proposing to establish a European Centre/Network for Science Communication and a European Code of Conduct for Science Communication.
  • Most of the major Telegram channels about politics are controlled either directly from the Kremlin or by Kremlin-adjacent structures and groups of influence” reports iSANS in their analysis of Russia’s use of Telegram in the Belarus protests.

Events and Announcements

  • May 6: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Friends in Defence of Democracy are hosting a webinar entitled: “Defending Democracy from Disinformation”. More info here.
  • May 11: The latest Mozilla Mornings on the DSA will focus on “Setting the standard for third-party platform auditing”. Register here.
  • May 11 – 12: The Portuguese Council Presidency is hosting a High-Level Conference on AI and journalism, including a panel on disinformation. See the full programme and register here.