ICYMI, our webinar with Avaaz last week is now online! Replay the session or read our Twitter thread summary.

Disinfo News and Updates

  • UK National Cyber Force. The UK has revealed that its National Cyber Force (NFC) has been established and has been operating since April 2020, already operating against terrorism, organised crime, and hostile state activity.
  • Content Moderation Industrial Complex. Facebook claims its increased reliance on AI in content moderation has helped crack down on hate speech, but its latest report suggests that human moderators remain vital to the process. 
  • Learning from Taiwan. Rappler and Foreign Policy reflect on Taiwan’s successful approach to countering disinformation, mobilizing a whole-of-society approach and a citizen-run civic tech platform.  
  • Disinformation Alliances. The New York Times has an extensive investigative story of cooperation between American far-right political figures and members of the Chinese diaspora to promote conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid-19. 
  • Advertising. Twitch is testing ‘multiplayer ads’ that let creators earn money: triggered by the streamer, the audience will all view the same ad.
  • Telegram’s ‘Deepfake’ Bot. Law enforcement authorities are investigating an AI bot that has generated tens of thousands of non-consensual images of women on Telegram, despite being reported to the platform at the start of the year.

EU Policy Monitor

In the EU institutions

  • Parliamentary Questions. Last week, the EEAS answered a parliamentary question posed in July on the need for the Commission to take action against Syrian disinformation, stating that “the EU is not in a position to impose penalties against the publication of false or misleading information”.
  • European Democracy Action Plan. EU ambassadors want the European Commission to more forcefully tackle ‘manipulative dissemination techniques’ for disinformation, EURACTIV reports. 
  • Terrorist Content Regulation. Member states have committed to finalising the regulation of terrorist content online by the end of 2020. The joint statement proposes an instrument through which states could issue content removal orders with cross-border effect, and which would require platforms to act upon terrorist content within an hour of reporting. 
  • Self-Regulation. TikTok has joined the Alliance to Better Protect Minors Online, the self-regulatory initiative launched by the Commission in 2017, which includes telecom operators and platforms such as Facebook, Google, Snap and Twitter.

In Member States

  • The Netherlands. The Dutch authorities are establishing a package of measures to address disinformation in the run-up to the parliamentary elections this March.
  • Germany. Last Wednesday, thousands of German COVID sceptics protested amending the Infection Protection Act. Lawmakers have accused the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) of allowing some demonstrators, including far-right influencers and bloggers, to enter the parliament building. 
  • France. On Saturday, thousands marched in French cities in protest of a draft law that would limit the filming of on-duty police officers, in fear of the limits to press freedom.

Regulating Disinformation in the EU – Cautionary Tales from the US Elections

This past Thursday, EU DisinfoLab held a webinar with civic research group Avaaz. We discussed the US elections, Avaaz’s new research on the loopholes around Facebook’s enforcement mechanisms, and the implications for regulatory solutions in the EU.

Research, Studies, Reports

Events and Announcements

  • 30 November – Call for Partnership: Building Innovative Solutions for Journalists to Counter Disinformation in Latin America with The Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Applications are due by November 30. Info here.
  • 1 December – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Partnership for Countering Influence Operations (PCIO) and Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) are holding a conversation on disinformation in the digital age. Learn more here.
  • 3 December – UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (OGC) is hosting a Virtual Roundtable “No Silver Bullet: Using data to develop context-sensitive solutions to disinformation”. Register here.
  • 2 December – The Digital Legal Talks conference, a collaboration between four Dutch universities, is fully online and open to the public. Find out more here. 
  • UNESCO, in collaboration with the UNITAR, is providing an interactive course designed to build understanding of the “disinfodemic” and the role of truth in the time of COVID-19. You can enroll here.