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 programme here. Hurry up – only few seats left! #Disinfo2019.
EU Code of Practice: April edition
Last Friday, the tech companies have released their monthly reports on the EU Code of Practice against disinformation. Overall, the Commission welcomed the fact that all three signatories have now created publicly accessible political ad libraries and enabled searches through APIs. What’s more, the Commission called upon platforms to cooperate closer with the research community to identify and access relevant data sets. It is to be noted that Microsoft announced its plan to subscribe to the Code. The EU DisinfoLab has summarised the main actions taken by the European Commission and social media platforms to tackle disinformation online.
International call for action on content moderation
With the initiative of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, several states and companies have signed the “Christchurch Call“. The call represents a list of commitments to be respected by the states and main digital actors in the fight against terrorist content online. It is to be noted that among other countries, the US did not sign the Call. Nevertheless, last Wednesday, the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel they’ve been wrongly censored, banned, or suspended on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Also on the international scene, digital ministers of G7 have gathered to discuss an upcoming charter on toxic content and tech regulation at large, to be signed in August 2019.
Platforms fighting anti-vaccination propaganda
Despite Facebook’s effort to curb anti-vaccine misinformation, it continued to spread on the platform over two months after the company implemented intensified screening. Instagram has announced to start hiding search results for hashtags that return anti-vaccination misinformation. At the same time, Twitter will be launching a new tool in search that would prompt users to head to vaccines.org, which is run by officials from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This way, Twitter wants to ensure that users get reliable information about vaccination from authoritative sources.
EU elections news and fact checks of the week
- Last week, an independent educational charity Demos has released a report analysing manipulations in the EP elections in Germany, Italy & France.
- During the presidential elections in Ukraine, Facebook failed to combat foreign disinformation campaigns. For POLITICO, the preparedness of the platform for the EU elections is under questions.
- According to the New York Times, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked toRussia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation and is encouraging discord among voters before the EU elections.
- An Iranian disinformation operation impersonated dozens of media outlets to spread fake articles.
- Youtube and Google algorithms are promoting the channel of a 14 years old girl with 800k subscribers sharing extremist content mocking Muslims and sexual minorities.
- Since January, Poynter has been keeping track of how some of the top fact checks from around the world perform on Facebook compared to the hoaxes they debunk.
- The 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index evaluated 24 of the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments and policies affecting freedom of expression and privacy of internet users across the world.
- Facebook has revealed that the coordinated inauthentic behavior identified on May 16 was linked to Israeli political marketing firm Archimedes Group. The DFRlab has found out that the tactics of the Group closely resemble the types of information warfare strategies used by governments, and the Kremlin in particular.
- The French audiovisual regulatory authority released its recommendations to the tech platforms in the framework of their duty to cooperate in the fight against disinformation. This “duty to cooperate” was defined in the French law against manipulation of information adopted in December 2018.
- After the reveal of the Austrian vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache trying to trade public contracts for party donations from the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was pulling the plug on his ruling coalition after just 17 months in office. The new elections in Austria should be called in September 2019.
Calendar and announcements
- In the framework of the Erasmus+ project ‘Open Your Eyes’, we have launched a survey dedicated to projets promoting media literacy. If you are working on the subject, please take a few minutes to fill in the survey.
- The recipients of the 40 Google News Initiative Fellowship are announced.
- 28-29 May @ Brussels: EU Commissioner to the Security Union, Sir Julian King will be concluding the debates of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference.
- 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.