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 updated agenda.
Elections coming, ads leaving
Facebook has recently tightened its rules around political ads ahead of the EU elections, and planned to ban cross-border political advertising between European countries. In consequence, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission have called on Facebook to change its rules to recognise the EU as one political space. The leaders of European parties echoed frustration about the actions of Facebook. For instance, Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE group,warned that the ban could “kill pan-European democracy”.
It’s Mueller’s time!
The Mueller report, released last Thursday, revealed how Donald Trump tried to get fired the man appointed to investigate his links to Russia. Mueller’s investigation also found that Russia was backing a $35 million operation to meddle with US politics through social media. At the same time, it could not reach a concrete legal conclusion on whether President Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation. Politico magazine has published the opinions of legal experts and analysts weighing the special counsel’s findings and conclusions against the President’s claims about his campaign’s behavior with the Russians.
Hoaxes around the Lady of Paris
Last week, following the fire of Notre Dame, YouTube has erroneously shown the 9/11 link on live videos of Notre Dame fire. Underneath live streams from CBS, NBC News, and France 24 viewers saw an explainer for the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Moreover, as the cathedral burned, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and coordinated disinformation campaigns began to spread across different social media platforms. A cooperation of European fact checkers has proven wrong a number of false information around the fire.
EU elections news and fact checks of the week
- EUFactcheck has proven mostly true the assumption that “Two thirds of European laws are part of Croatian legislation”.
- On 23 May, Britain will have its second referendum that will take the form of elections to the European parliament.
- David Stern from Politico has published 6 takeaways from Ukraine’s presidential vote. Moreover, the online magazine CodaStory has reported how the Ukrainian elections have been riddled with fake news and cyber attacks.
- A new report on Hybrid Threats prepared by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence analyses how ‘hybrid threats’ can influence the political decision-making of a targeted nation in a way which hurts their national security interests, predominantly conducted in the ‘grey zone’ between peace, crisis and war.
- The Trump campaign is spending nearly half of its Facebook ad budget (44%) to target users who are over 65 years old.
- Two months after it was rumored to let it down, the Associated Press has expanded its fact-checking partnership with Facebook. It will start debunking false content in Spanish for its American audience and will publish corresponding fact checks in Spanish, making it the first of Facebook’s American partners to do so.
- Founder of the Fact-checking project ‘First Draft’ Ms. Claire Wardle, and former founding director of the International Fact-Checking Network, Mr. Alexios Mantzarlis, have started a new open platform called ‘Civic’, aiming at crowdsourcing fake memes, bot activity, and dead fake “facts” into a single catalog.
- Buzzfeed reports how German WhatsApp users are spreading far-right propaganda through the use of stickers and chain letters, and the company is doing little to nothing to stop it, despite local laws forbidding the use of Nazi imagery.
Calendar and announcements
- 28-29 May @ Brussels: The program of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference has been updated. Check it out here and hurry up to register (seats are limited).
- 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.
- 2-6 September @ Paphos, Cyprus: International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. Please find the Call for Papers and Participation for the “Workshop on Challenging Misinformation: Exploring the Limits and Approaches”.
- EU DisinfoLab is looking for a trainee from July 2019.
- Through the Marie Curie Actions, post-doc researchers can apply for a 24- months fellowship at a European university.