On May 28-29 in Brussels, join the community working against disinformation: case studies, civil society initiatives and tools will be presented. Pre-registrations for EU Disinfolab conference are open. Take a look at the agenda.
Health misinformation online and how to deal with it
The algorithms of Amazon are recommending misinformation conspiracy and anti-vaccine propaganda. In consequence, people can make harmful purchases that could potentially put their health in danger. The issue of anti-vaccine propaganda is also a particular concern in the United States, where lively hearings were held by the Congress. As described by the New York Times, in Oregon, the hospital stay of a child found to have tetanus due to non-vaccination costs 800 000$. Also under pressure, Facebook, announced they will reduce the visibility of anti-vaccine propaganda.
Alt-right US billionaires funding misinformation campaigns in Europe
Since a few years, a small group of American billionaires, financing the right wing of the Republican Party, have supported campaigns to disseminate false information in several EU countries. Small groups of activists and specialized political communication companies were funded, along with the purchase of ads on social networks to amplify conservative messages (such as the anti-abortion campaign in Ireland).
Regulation from the Atlantic to the Urals
After the white paper release by the British DCMS inquiry committee of the House of Commons earlier this year, the House of Lords released last week its report: “Regulating in the digital world”.The document calls for creation of a new regulation authority, or the extension of Ofcom’s oversight powers to online platforms. In a broader way, the House of Lords considered regulators should be granted responsibility for enforcing a duty of care on those companies.
In the meantime, Russia’s parliament has passed two bills outlawing “disrespect” of authorities and the spreading of what the government deems to be “fake news”, the bill is supposed to be signed by the Russian president on March 13.
Last week three European capitals: Athens, Madrid and Brussels hosted the Atlantic Council#DisinfoWeek. The events offered a series of strategic dialogues on how to address the challenge of disinformation. Experts and officials from both sides of the Atlantic such as Ben Nimmo, Alina Polyakova, Guillaume Chaslot and Damian Collins shared their analyse and strategies to tackle the phenomenon of disinformation, through AI, debunking storytelling and regulation. Videos of the event can be seen here.
What to read this week:
- Mark Zuckerberg has promised to start working on an updated and more private version of messaging and data sharing on Facebook.
- Google’s decision to ban political ads did not please to the candidates of presidential elections in Canada
- US Ambassador to the EU promised to reinforce transatlantic cooperation on disinformation fight.
- Researchers of Cornell University have proven how the recommender systems of major media platforms can shape people’s mind, create filter bubbles, echo chambers and shift user’s world view.
- The elections in South Africa and how to track bots and fake news in political context.
- Facebook is clearing up inauthentic accounts on Facebook and Instagram platforms: DFR analysis of takedown of suspicious Pakistani owned accounts.
- According to Jochai Ben-Avie, senior global policy manager for Mozilla, India should look at Europe as its model for data privacy GDPR, instead of turning to Chinese-style rules to control citizen’s data.
Calendar and announcement
- March 20 – EU DisinfoLab Webinar: Collecting data to research algorithms personalization. Link to videoconference can be found here.
- EU H2020 project EUNOMIA is seeking for a postdoctoral research follow in data analytics and machine learning for information trustworthiness.