Disinfo News and Updates

  • Back in Print. In the UK, conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine messages are being circulated in printed leaflets, sometimes with QR codes or links to websites and Facebook groups.
  • Gendered Disinformation in Pakistan. The organisers behind Pakistan’s Women’s March are in hiding following a coordinated disinformation campaign against them, which spread on social media in the days after the event.
  • Ya Basta, Facebook. A coalition of media advocacy groups, civil rights organizations and lawmakers in the US is calling on Facebook to take accountability for Spanish language misinformation.
  • US Election Intelligence Declassified. US National Intelligence declassified its official report on foreign interference in the 2020 election, revealing attempts by Vladimir Putin to harm the Biden campaign.

EU Policy Monitor

In the EU Institutions

  • INGE Committee Update. Last week the Parliamentary Committee on Disinformation heard testimonies from Marietje Schaake, Liisa Past and Rafael Rubio and discussed the draft report on foreign covert political funding prepared by Committee Rapporteur Sandra Kalniete. The next meeting will take place on Thursday jointly with the FEMM Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
  • Cybersecurity and Encryption. The European Data Protection Supervisor commented on the revised Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive, which seeks to harmonise and strengthen cybersecurity practices across the EU, that the Directive should not be used to weaken end-to-end encryption.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Media. In a resolution adopted last Tuesday, the Parliamentary Committee on Culture and Education stressed that the Commission should establish specific indicators to measure media diversity within its upcoming ethical framework for AI.

In Member States

  • The Netherlands. Political advertising technology was used to illegally track visitors to Dutch political party websites, according to research by Floor Terra of The Hague-based Privacy Company, seen by Politico.
  • France. French civil society groups have once again sued Twitter for failure to adequately moderate hateful content and devote sufficient resources to the issue  in France. The Paris court will examine the case on May 26. 
  • Finland. The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) has classified the cyber-attack against the Finnish parliament’s IT systems last fall as a “state-run cyberespionage operation” traced back to the Chinese government.

EU DisinfoLab Webinar
Pressure Points: How social media changes our behaviour, and what to do about it

Wednesday 7 April at 16:00-17:00 CEST

How does social media influence our behaviour, and in so doing, put pressure on our democracies? Join us on Wednesday April 7 between 16h and 17h CEST with lead authors of the  European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) report: Technology and Democracy: Understanding the Influence of Online Technologies on Political Behaviour and Decision-Making. Dr. Stephen Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol and Laura Smillie of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Enlightenment 2.0 Programme will share their scientific research and conclusions and link their observations and recommendations with the current policy discussion.

Register here

Research, Studies, Long Reads…

  • British anti-facist group Hope Not Hate has released their annual report on the far right and conspiracy movements,  “The State of Hate – 2021”. The report includes research into a rapidly growing online disinformation network, particularly active on Telegram, targeting followers of QAnon.
  • Disinformation on encrypted messaging apps poses a particular threat to diaspora communities in the US, reports Brookings.
  • Amazon is recommending hoaxes and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, shows new research led by Marc Tuters as part of the Infodemic.eu project.

Events and Announcements

  • Twitter is running a survey from March 19 through April 12 to gather feedback for their policy towards world leaders: should different standards apply? Share your feedback here.
  • (Today) 23 March – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is holding a webinar: At the Vanguard, How Women Lead the Charge in Researching Influence Operations. More info here.
  • 25 March – VUB Brussels School of Governance is hosting the next webinar in their DSA in Perspective series: “Transparency Rules and Data Rights for Platform Research”. Sign up here.
  • 25 March – Team CommUNITY @ Article 19 is hosting a Community Knowledge Share online workshop introducing some tools and techniques for detecting disinformation. Sign up here.