Civil society & the fight against disinformation

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue has released two excellent resources for supporting civil society’s role in the fight against disinformation: 

  • The 101 of Disinformation Detection – Intended for any NGO looking to tackle disinformation, this report serves as a toolkit for those who require accessible but structured ideas on disinformation research methods and tools. 
  • Developing a Civil Society Response to Online Manipulation – This report covers two major components: the technological capabilities that are needed to provide agile and accurate research on the evolving threats; and the human skills, coalitions and funding required to make that possible and meaningful.

Exposure to engagement metrics increases vulnerability to misinformation

In September 2019, we held a webinar with Mihai Avram  — co-creator of Fakey. Fakey is a gamified approach to media literacy that works by simulating a social media feed. Players score points by sharing content from credible news outlets and fact-checking questionable sources. Just recently, new research has emerged from Mihai and his team that looks into the significance of social engagement metrics (likes and shares) in the spread of misinformation. Based on the recording of 8,500+ Fakey game sessions, the researchers found that exposure to engagement metrics increases the vulnerability of users to low credibility information. In essence, “the higher the engagement, the more prone people are to sharing questionable content and less to fact-checking it”. This has implications for product design in that social media platforms must rethink how engagement metrics should be displayed so as to not facilitate the spread of misinformation.

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In the news

Good reads

  • In a new piece, First Draft explores why we need a Google Trends-type feature on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and TikTok to deal with data voids, which can create harmful barriers for users to access credible information.   
  • From alternative doctors to wellness coaches, Tortoise Media has detailed the infodemic superspreaders, examining (amongst other things) how they have helped amplify Facebook posts containing COVID-19 dis– and misinformation.


Events and Announcements

  • IREX’s comprehensive Learn to Discern curriculum is now fully available for download. This curriculum serves as a guidebook for educators in formal and informal education environments. It provides step-by-step guidance and interactive exercises for helping learners of all ages recognise why and how manipulative content works and gain skills to reject half-truths, clickbait, hate speech, and fakes.
  • 20 August, 17:00 CEST @ First Draft webinar – Coronavirus: Tracking the infodemic across social media
  • 28 Sept – 2 Oct, 14:15-16:30 CEST @ EU DisinfoLab Virtual Annual Conference – REGISTER HERE.
  • 28-30 September @ Online conference –  Cybersec 2020: European Cybersecurity Forum
  • Shorenstein Center’s Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC) has announced Political Pandemonium 2020 — a series of four digital workshops exploring the harmful effects of media manipulation on our society. More information on how to register can be found here.