We have the pleasure to confirm that Sir Julian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union, will be concluding the debates of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference on 29 May in Brussels.
You can have a look at the updated program here. Hurry up – only few seats left! #Disinfo2019.
Do populists believe more in conspiracies?
According to the results of the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project shared with The Guardian, people with strongly held populist views across the world are far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. For instance, the survey revealed that the populist views’ defenders tend to suppose that the harmful effects of vaccines are deliberately hidden from the public. Moreover, they tend to believe that the 9/11 attacks were supported by the US government, and that man-made global warming is a hoax. In addition, today, 8% Europeans believe – incorrectly – that vaccines can often produce severe side effects and 38% think vaccines can actually cause the diseases against which they protect.
To rate or not to rate?
Last week, fact-checking website Poynter published a list of 515 websites allegedly spreading false or misleading information. Few days later, after having received complaints from some outlets of this list and readers who objected to the inclusion of certain sites, the article was removed from the platform. The editor in chef of Poynter has apologised for “the weaknesses in the methodology”. NewsGuard Technologies, has also recently created a browser extension alerting users about unreliable news sites. Our recent webinar gave the floor to Global Disinformation Index initiative so they would explain how they’re rating disinforming sources online. As Forbes recently explained, stopping disinformation requires measuring and understanding it not just monitoring and debunking it. Thus, it appears crucial to develop new methodologies and tools to fairly assess information quality online.
Is there a monopoly on fact-checking?
According to Samir Patil in his opinion peace in the New York Times, disinformation and hate speech are drowning out truth on social media networks in India, influencing political choices of electors during the upcoming Indian elections. Today, the world’s biggest democracy uses the popularity of WhatsApp to fight disinformation ahead of 2019 general elections. Moreover, in the context of the elections there is a certain fact-checking hype between politicians. For instance, Indian politician Raj Thackeray, even though not running for elections, organises big political gatherings with voters to debunk disinformation spread by the Indian Prime Minister. In response, the Bharatiya Janata Party (Prime Minister’s party) has organised similar meetings using the same fact-checking arguments against Mr. Thackeray.
EU elections news and fact-checks of the week
- EUFactCheck has proven mostly wrong the assumption that 10,000 scientific research files call upon delaying the implementation of 5G technology.
- FactCheckEU has proven wrong the assumption that the Vice-President of the EU Commission has called for the erasure of monocultural states.
- Facebook has opened a command post to thwart manipulation of the public debate before the European elections. By deleting a number of fake accounts, the platform is now taking concrete measures to tackle the spread of disinformation and hate speech on Facebook.
- The Digital Forensic Research Lab has published a two-part article explaining how two “impartial” Armenian fact-checking groups spread biased narratives and inauthentic content online.
- Les Decodeurs from French newspaper Le Monde have proven wrong the French Ministry of Interior accusing protestants to attack one of the biggest hospitals in Paris during 1 May manifestations.
- Despite the fact that the Sri Lankan government has blocked social media to stop misinformation about the Easter terror attacks, conspiracies and misleading information continued to spread online.
- Last Thursday, Facebook has announced to be banning prominent far-right and/or anti-Semitic political figures like Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones etc. both from Facebook and Instagram.
Calendar and announcements
- Facebook has announced the grantees of its research program ‘Social Science One’ and collaboration with Social Science Research Council. Researchers from 30 institutions and 11 countries will get access to Facebook Ad Library API and exclusive data sets.
- The DisinfoPortal has launched its newsletter – The Drop, bringing insights and analysis on disinformation.
- 28-29 May @ Brussels: EU Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King, will be concluding the debates of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference. Check out the program here and hurry up toregister (seats are limited, already 200 participants registered).
- 6-7 June @ Brussels: Annual Conference on European Media Law 2019.
- 19-20 June @ UNESCO Headquarters in Paris: 63rd meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication.
|EU DisinfoLab is looking for a trainee from July 2019.