Disinfo News and Updates

  • Transparency and Enforcement. YouTube is introducing a metric called “Violative View Rate” (VVR), designed to estimate the percentage of views on the platform that are of videos which violate the platform’s terms of service.
  • Off-service Misconduct. Amazon-owned Twitch has enlarged and formalised its policy for taking action against “severe misconduct” that occurs beyond the platform.
  • Climate Change Denialism. First Draft studied the spread of climate change denialism and how external links are used to reinforce conspiracy theories and bridge fringe and mainstream platforms.

EU Policy Monitor

In the EU Institutions

  • Warming up for the Code of Practice. In a joint statement, eight associations from the news and media sectors propose 10 confidence building measures for the Commission to integrate into their guidance on the revised EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. 
  • Digital Services Act. French Renew MEP Sandro Gozi says the DSA has the potential to tackle “the organised dissemination of disinformation” in particular through the Risk Assessments for Very Large Online Platforms (Articles 26 and 27). He argues for increased responsibility for authorities in member states and the ability of member states to impose additional duty of care obligations.
  • INGE Committee Updates – Later today, the Parliamentary Committee on foreign interference and disinformation will meet on the topic of “Interference through advertisement” in association with the IMCO committee and with testimony from Nandini Jammi of Check My Ads. On Thursday they’ll  combine with the Parliamentary Committee studying the impact of AI on democratic and electoral processes.

In Member States

  • Germany. The German Foreign Office has provided seed funding to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to found the “Digital Policy Lab”, bringing together ministers, policy makers and regulators from the EU, the US, and other countries.
  • Hungary/Czech Republic. After two Czech directors had prepared a short video clip for the screening of their film at the Czech Film Carnival in Budapest which included the message “Ban Orbán”, their video clip and film have both been removed from the festival.

Research and Resources from the EU DisinfoLab

  • Bulgaria: The Wild, Wild East of Vaccine Disinformation. On Friday we released research on anti-vaccine content on Facebook in the Bulgarian language. This continued exploration of anti-vaccine content on the platform takes Bulgaria as a case study of how dis and misinformation spreads in countries where Facebook does not partner with independent fact-checking organisations. 
  • CIB Detection Tree. EU DisinfoLab is working on a series of guides to help researchers detect the practice referred to as “Coordination Inauthentic Behavior” (CIB). We’ve just published the first branch of a CIB Detection Tree. More posts will follow in the coming months introducing other criteria that can be used to assess authenticity – to trace inauthentic language behaviour, research similar narratives or check posting behaviours, etc.

Long Reads, Blogs, Newsletters…

  • The Guardian covers former Facebook employee Sophie Zhang’s exposé of authoritarian influence operations (“fake engagement”) levereging the platform that went ignored or neglected by the company.
  • Tactical Tech’s Data and Politics project has released an updated version of The Influence Industry Long List, now documenting 500 companies working with personal data to support political campaigns.
  • Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is launching a monthly newsletter on internet infrastructure and internet governance issues for a non-technical audience. (very excited for this!)
  • Signal’s decision to integrate cryptocurrency payments is “an incredibly bad idea” according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

Events and Announcements

  • 14 April – Full Fact is holding a webinar on how to prepare for the next misinformation crisis. Register here.
  • 14 April – Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) Brussels is launching a series on disinformation by hosting a few of us from EU DisinfoLab! You can join us here.
  • 15 April – Leiden University’s Hague Program for Cyber Norms is holding a panel debate on rethinking cyber espionage after the SolarWinds hack. More info here.