A spontaneous and innovative open newsroom born to fight COVID-19 disinformation

On Tuesday 2 June at 16:00 CEST, join us for a webinar with Guillaume and Tim from Journalistes Solidaires where they will present their Open Newsroom, created in response to the COVID-19 infodemic. The Open Newsroom is designed to debunk falsehoods submitted by the public by pooling together accurate information from journalists, experts, and citizens alike.


Insights for future elections

According to Politico’s Mark Scott, U.S. far-right groups have been pushing their (online) agenda in a number of elections since 2017, often using Europe as an audience to test ideas and strategies to be used in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Although relatively unsuccessful in swaying voters, the digital tactics used by the far-right groups have nonetheless inspired their European counterparts. Democracy Reporting International’s Rafael Goldzweig called attention to how online electoral campaigning is more crucial than ever in light of social distancing. Reflecting on the efforts taken by the platforms to curb COVID-19 mis/disinformation, Goldzweig argues that platforms should be more reactive in dealing with political disinformation in the future and recommends that platforms cooperate with authoritative sources, such as electoral bodies and watchdogs, to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Twitter’s top COVID-19 disinfo spreaders

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have discovered that almost half of the Twitter accounts discussing ‘Reopening America’ may be bots. Since January, CMU researchers have collected more than 200 million COVID-19 tweets. They found that of the top 50 influential retweeters, 82% are bots. Newsguard has released an investigation looking into the European actors who spread dis/misinformation on Twitter, shedding light on the shortcomings in Twitter’s policy to protect users from COVID-19 misinformation. Politico has a write up that summarises the study’s key findings. Finally, Coda Story has an exclusive on new research detailing how a series of Twitter hashtags have pushed Islamophobic disinformation to 170 million users since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Conspiracies corner

  • Bringing to light the power of false narratives offline, European trade unions and telecom lobby groups have called on policymakers to protect employees from attacks spurred on by 5G-COVID-19 conspiracies.
  • In a new blog-post, DFRLab explores why the debunked COVID-19 conspiracy video “Plandemic” won’t go away, citing the significance of high-follower QAnon accounts and alt-tech platforms in sustaining the prevalence of the video.

Good reads


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