Dear subscribers,
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by Maria Giovanna. I am a researcher at EU DisinfoLab, specialised in analysing Italian disinformation, and I will be filling in for Lauren this week. I will do my best to deliver the great content you are used to. The newsletter will be also taking a short summer break, so see you on August 18. Enjoy reading! 🙂

European Democracy Action Plan

Just when you thought you had enough to get through during this summer, the public consultation for the European Democracy Action Plan has now opened. Submit your contribution before 15th September.

The UK and Russia in focus

The UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released its long-awaited report on Russian interference in the British democratic process last Tuesday. Regarding disinformation, the report notes that the UK is a clear target for Russia, later emphasising that the issue of Russian disinformation campaigns is a “hot potato,” with no one agency or governmental body taking a lead to tackle it. The British government released its own response to the report. Only recently, the British government acknowledged that Russians almost certainly tried to meddle in the 2019 UK general election through the illicit acquisition and online diffusion of government documents. The online amplification of the leaked documents as well as the tactics behind it were analysed by Graphika last December.

Straightening out the business model

Starting on 18 August, Google will ban advertisements promoting coronavirus conspiracy theories, removeadvertisements from pages that promote these theories, and demonetise entire sites that frequently violate the policy. Global Disinformation Index only recently released a report titled “Ad-funded COVID-19 Disinformation: Money, Tech & Brands,” which provides evidence of the ad funding of coronavirus conspiracy theories. According to GDI’s conservative estimates, based on 500 English-speaking coronavirus disinformation sites, $25 million will be generated from ad revenue in 2020.

Good reads

Tech vs. Disinfo

  • Last week, Twitter announced that it would ban accounts related to the QAnon conspiracy theory. In addition, the tech platform will stop recommending content linked to QAnon and block URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform.
  • Following its announcement in June, Facebook has begun labelling posts about voting from presidential candidates, regardless of whether they contain mis/disinformation. More specifically, posts from Donald Trump and Joe Biden were labelled last week.


Events and Announcements