Good morning, Disinfo Update readers!

A few highlights from your biweekly disinformation update, and from the EU DisinfoLab team. We released our latest OSINT investigation, Doppelganger, last Tuesday. If you haven’t read it yet, we invite you to dig into this study about how some Russia-based actors cloned legitimate media outlets from multiple European countries to spread disinformation aimed at undermining the support to Ukraine.

We’re looking for the new EU DisinfoLab team member! Feel free to spread the word within your network about our job opening as we’re hiring a Policy and Community Coordinator

Last, but certainly not least, #Disinfo2022 is just around the corner! We are thrilled to welcome and meet many of you in Brussels in a few weeks. While we’ve reached our maximum capacity in terms of attendees, you can still join the waitlist – but it doesn’t guarantee a ticket. But we’ve got a good news for this year: all sessions will be recorded, and available from our YouTube channel shortly after the conference! 

Have a good day, and enjoy the read!

Disinfo News & Updates

  • Putin’s surveillance network. This New York Times article details the activities of Russia’s internet regulator, Roskomnadzor – which was formed in 2008 to oversee radio signals, telecoms and the Russian mail service. Thanks to thousands of pages of leaked files, we get a better glimpse at how powerful it has become both in terms of internet oversight and as a weapon to be deployed in Putin’s propaganda campaigns.  
  • Facebook experiment. Facebook gathered 250 people from five different countries to discuss solutions to climate misleading information circulating on the platform. While Facebook didn’t reveal what was decided, it stated that the sessions led to “high amounts of both participant engagement and satisfaction” and could open up opportunities for users to help write speech rules. In a post-survey, “80 percent of participants said Facebook users like them should have a say in policy development.” 
  • Cases against social platforms. This Bloomberg article states that more than seventy lawsuits have been filed this year in the U.S. against Meta, Snap, TikTok, and Google claiming that Silicon Valley’s algorithms are causing adolescents and young adults real-world harm as a result of their addiction to social media. 

EU policy monitor 

  • Digital Services Act. The final version of the Digital Services Act was given Council’s approval today. The final signature by the European Parliament and the Council is expected on 19 October. After the signature, the text has to be published in the European Union Official Journal. It should enter into force 20 days after the publication in the Journal but will apply (for all) only 15 months after entering into force. Its application to VLOPs will be earlier, 4 months after their designation as such. 
  • The Digital Markets Act. The text has been signed by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council. It should be published in the European Union’s Official Journal on 13 October. 
  • Regulation on Political advertisement. All the amendments to the Internal Market (IMCO) Committee report have been published (Amendments 140-409 and Amendments 410-686). 
  • European Media Freedom Act. The proposal was revealed by the European Commission on 16 September. Have a look at our initial reaction here. Discussions between the Audiovisual Working party and the European Commission have started, while the European Parliament is deliberating which Committee will be leading the work. The results of these discussions should be clear by the end of November. There are high chances that CULT will be in the driver’s seat, and LIBE/IMCO will be associated Committees. In the meantime, the Commission also launched a feedback process until 28 November to feed into the legislative debate. 

What we’re reading or listening to!

  • Google autocomplete. The latest Crossover investigation demonstrates how French-speaking Belgians were hinted at searching for dubious sources when looking up the word “Donbass” in Google.
  • What a pixel can tell. Democracy Reporting International released a new report analysing  how Artificial Intelligence could be used to design images that support erroneous narratives, and the impact this could have on democratic public discourses.
  • Abortion rights. Jo Glanville talks with some leading activists and advocates including Venny Ala-Siurua, Executive Director at Women on Web, Lana Dimitrijevic, Lawyer and Founder of the Women’s Rights Foundation in Malta, and Judy Taing, Head of Gender and Sexuality at ARTICLE 19 about challenges and obstacles to protecting reproductive rights. But also about the role disinformation plays in disrupting these rights, and how can tech companies help.
  • Misinformation in 2022 Quebec elections. The Quebec Election Misinformation Project at McGill University’s Media Ecosystem Observatory has just published its mid-election analysis of misinformation during the Quebec provincial election. Their findings are available here.

The latest from EU DisinfoLab

  • Doppelganger. Our latest OSINT investigation exposes an operation linked to Russia-based actors who cloned legitimate media outlets from multiple European countries to spread disinformation designed to undermine the support to Ukraine. 
  • Disinformation entrepreneurs. Never heard this expression? Dig into this piece which provides an analysis of disinformation entrepreneurs, i.e. YouTube users that have found the fastest way to grow their accounts by spreading pro-Russian disinformation on the war in the Ukraine.  
  • Apply now! We’re looking for a Policy and Community Coordinator to join our dynamic team in Brussels! You have until October 12 to submit your application!

Events & announcements

  • 11 October: Register to the 4th Multidisciplinary International Symposium on Disinformation in Open Online Media (MISDOOM 2022).
  • 12 October: ISD is hosting an Online Info Session “Targeted women & LGBTQ+ on gender-based disinformation and countermeasures” when Maria Giovanna Sessa, Senior Researcher at EU DisinfoLab, will be speaking as a keynote. 
  • 12 October: Join this EDMO event “United Against Disinformation: A Truly European Response” to take place at the European Parliament. Hosted by Eva Kaili, Vice-President of the European Parliament, this session will present the latest innovations in the fight against disinformation. More details here
  • 21 October: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the FES Berlin are hosting a panel discussion “Strategies against migration-related disinformation: competence, resilience, foresight”. Sign up here
  • 28 October: Register here to the in-person EDMO BELUX workshop for scientists of the disinformation world on “Insights on the impact of disinformation from multiple perspectives” .
  • 22 November: Join the online German Open Source Intelligence Conference 2022 “Back to OSINT”. 
  • Handbook. Counteracting disinformation is now considered an important element of journalistic ethos and a standard practice for watchdog media. To facilitate journalists’ important task, the Panoptykon Foundation issued a handbook about Dealing with Disinformation.


This good Twitter thread!

Click on the link below to read this thread!