Good morning, Disinfo Update readers!

It’s going back to school time, which means that while we’re slowly gearing towards the fall, we’re also getting closer to our annual conference! We’ll share more thrilling updates soon on our website conference page (where you can also register if you haven’t done so yet), through our Disinfo Update or via our Twitter account. 

To keep you waiting, we’ll be hosting on September 15 our next webinar with Ben Nimmo, Global Lead, Threat Intelligence at Meta, and Raquel Miguel Serrano, Researcher at EU DisinfoLab. They will discuss how to measure the risks and impacts of online disinformation. Mark your calendar and click on the “Register here!” button below.

In the meantime, enjoy the read!

Disinfo news and updates

  • Nobel Laureates’ call for action on online disinformation. Last Friday, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov presented the 10-point plan tackling the current information crisis. The manifesto calls on governments to adopt a technology action plan to face the “existential threat” to democracies posed by online disinformation, hate speech and abuse.
  • Experiment vs misinformation. Jigsaw, a Google unit exploring threats to open societies, is launching a YouTube experiment in some European countries to address disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Through those videos, Google aims at educating viewers on how to avoid being manipulated by the spreading on social media. Studies have shown the potential impact of pre-bunking as a form of inoculation against misinformation.
  • Top threats revealed. A new survey by the Pew Research Center highlights that nearly three-quarters of respondents across 19 countries qualify the spread of online disinformation as a “major threat”, just after the climate change issue. 

EU policy monitor 

  • Code of Practice on Disinformation & Digital Services Act. Over the summer, the European Commission has published the call for interest to become a Signatory of the 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation. Next week, the German Marshall Fund of the United States is organising an event, “The Digital Services Act and the Code of Practice on Disinformation – Potential Global Consequences”, featuring, amongst others, the European Parliament key DSA negotiator, Christel Schaldemose. More information about the event is available here. Last but not least, in light of the Twitter whistleblower’s revelations, MEP Alexandra Geese and MEP Kim van Sparrentak have written to the European Commission asking a few critical questions, including what steps the Commission is taking to investigate whether Twitter is -or isn’t- violating the Code of Practice on Disinformation. But also, what it can do if Twitter is not complying with the Code. Those key questions might give us insights into how the Code will be enforced. The Commission has at least six weeks to answer though some delay is expected. 
  • European Media Freedom Act. Everyone in Brussels is eagerly waiting to see what the State of the Union speech – scheduled for September 14 – by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will bring forward. While she’s widely known for introducing out of the blue legislative initiatives, one thing won’t be a surprise. She will most likely mention the soon to be released European Commission’s proposal for the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), a new legislative tool for media freedom and plurality in the EU. The proposed text should be released shortly after her speech. We are looking forward to seeing the proposal as the debates around media privileges and exemptions might be back to the table.
  • Digital Markets Act. The European Commission has published the webpage for its public consultation on the DMA implementing acts. They will define the key components of the DMA, including the technical measures that the gatekeepers will need to apply and ensure they comply with the legislation. The draft acts should be published in the coming weeks.
  • Political Ads regulation. Throughout the beginning of September, the Committees for Opinion are meeting to discuss their drafts (CULT, JURI, LIBE). The Brussels Times highlights key discussion points, including the fight against disinformation.

What we’re reading – or listening to!

  • New media universe. This Reuters report investigates some alternative video sites, which have very limited content moderation, and their role in spreading dangerous misinformation and hate speech.
  • Interested in getting started with OSINT? Listen to this Bellingcat Discord Server talk where the Bellingcat Team members provide practical tips on how to get started in open source research as a programmer.
  • Quebec elections & misinformation. A team of researchers from McGill University has set up the Quebec Election Misinformation Project to quickly identify and respond to misinformation circulating during the 2022 Quebec provincial election and assess its scope and effects on Quebecers’ attitudes and behaviours.

The latest from EU DisinfoLab

  • Don’t miss out!! Our next webinar, “Measuring the risks and impacts of disinformation: let’s open the discussion”, will feature Ben Nimmo, Global Lead, Threat Intelligence at Meta, and Raquel Miguel Serrano, Researcher at EU DisinfoLab. Join us on September 15 (3-4PM). 
  • Monitoring of German elections. This Technical Document, written by CORRECTIV.Faktencheck, digs into their learnings from 5 years of monitoring of disinformation during German elections. It also provides the key takeaways from the 2021 German Federal Elections.
  • Disinfo & Dangerous Speech. This document draws from a 2022 Rightscon webinar hosted together with the Dangerous Piece Project. The session brought together three disinformation experts that shared their own experience about debunking mis/disinformation, focusing on how such content can contribute to intergroup violence in their respective countries.

Events & announcements

  • September 14: “Media Literacy in Practice in Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg”: This EDMO webinar on Digital & Media Literacy in Europe will take place from 2-3:15PM, with Mediawijs, one of the EDMO BELUX partners presenting ”What educational materials do teachers share / want?”
  • September 15: Join Ben Nimmo, Global Lead, Threat Intelligence at Meta, and Raquel Miguel Serrano, Researcher at EU DisinfoLab, for a webinar on “Measuring the risks and impacts of disinformation”. Register here to attend this live session (3-4PM).
  • September 22: Deadline to apply to the Call for proposals by the European Commission for a pilot project on the European Narratives Observatory to fight disinformation post-COVID 19. 
  • September 23 & 25: The Bellingcat’s September global hackathons will challenge teams of up to three people to develop a functioning digital tool that can be used by open source researchers. 
  • October 24-31: The Unesco is hosting its annual Global Media and Information Literacy Week. Worldwide partners can use this platform to promote their Media Literacy events on that week.
  • Digital Sherlocks. Today, September 6, is your last day to apply to join the Digital Sherlocks programme by DFRLab. Don’t miss this opportunity! 
  • Disarming Disinformation. The International Center For Journalists has launched a 3-year initiative to combat dangerous falsehoods


This good Twitter thread!

Click on the link below to read Maria Ressa’s full thread!