Hello and welcome to our bi-weekly Disinfo Update. A warm welcome to those of you who recently joined us at a very special time for the EU DisinfoLab team!
We have just opened the registrations for our upcoming EU DisinfoLab 2022 Conference to be held in Brussels, on October 25-26. Don’t forget: mark your calendars, and book your ticket now!
Many disinformation events will be taking place in June, in and outside Brussels. We’ll be present at most of them. We’re all looking forward to those networking times, so come and say hi!
And after a few months that have seen our EU DisinfoLab team expanding, we’re happy to be moving to bigger offices at the end of June. Certainly a busy and exciting month for us all!
Enjoy the read!
Disinfo News and Updates
- Infowar in Italian media. The Italian Parliament’s security committee has opened a probe into pro-Kremlin disinformation being spread through mainstream news outlets, whether it’s via Russian guests or “by apparently independent voices—including some respected Italian journalists and professors,” according to Hannah Roberts in Politico.
- Twitter’s crisis misinformation policy. On May 19, Twitter introduced a new crisis misinformation policy which will start by being applied to the war in Ukraine. It will guide the platform’s “efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises.” Under this new policy, “Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery). The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion,” explains Russell Brandom.
- Beijing’s new trick against social media users. The Chinese government is taking a new approach towards those who post forbidden content on social media, by revealing their location. “Authorities say the location tags, which are displayed automatically, will help unearth overseas disinformation campaigns intended to destabilize China,” the New York Times reports. “In practice, they have offered new fuel for pitched online battles that increasingly link Chinese citizens’ locations with their national loyalty.”
EU Policy Monitor
- Digital Services Act (DSA). While the final text is not out yet, it is expected to be available shortly. The EU DisinfoLab team is preparing an overview of the most important things for the community, based on the latest available text. Stay tuned! The approval at the IMCO Committee is set for June 15, with the vote in the Plenary taking place the week of July 4, together with the vote on the final text of the Digital Markets Act. The date for the vote in the Council has not been determined yet. On May 18, the IMCO Committee held an exchange with Facebook Whistleblower, Frances Haugen, on the impact of the DSA and DMA, which she described as digital milestones. You can watch the discussion here. On May 23-27, the IMCO Committee delegation was in the Silicon Valley meeting tech companies, local authorities and academia.
- Digital Markets Act (DMA). The IMCO Committee voted in favour of the final DMA text. However, it still needs to be approved by the Plenary in July.
- Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (ING2). A meeting of the ING2 Committee, focused on Russian disinformation and propaganda in the context of the war in Ukraine, took place on May 17. The exchange, which was held jointly with the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, can be accessed here. The draft calendar of the upcoming meetings of the 1st semester is available here. Members of the ING2 Committee also participated in the Riga StratCom Dialogue 2022 that took place on May 25-26.
What we’re reading
- Same tactical playbook. In this Tech Policy Press article, Ben Decker and Adi Cohen review how the Covid-19 conspiracy theories are recycled to apply to the Monkeypox outbreak and sow distrust.
- Failure to act on anti-Muslim hate. The Center for Countering Digital Hate published a report on tech’s failure to act on Anti-Muslim hate. This research shows that some major social media companies have failed to act on 89% of posts containing anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic content reported to them.
- Fascist Fashion. This Bellingcat investigation exposes how some far-right and neo-Nazi online fashion stores are using the infrastructures provided by some mainstream businesses, and that some “appeared to be purchasing garments from wholesale manufacturers, whose charters celebrate diversity and equality, before embossing their own hateful messaging onto the clothing and selling it at a profit.”
Registrations for #Disinfo2022 are now open!
Book your ticket for the EU DisinfoLab 2022 Conference to be held in Brussels on October 25-26!
During the two days, the conference will bring together renowned experts from diverse backgrounds, digging into pressing issues in the disinformation space, from developments in the field of open-source investigations, and in the policy domain (the Digital Services Act), through the framework of accountability.
Don’t hesitate to browse through our draft program with our current list of confirmed speakers available here.
Catch us if you can!
This is where you might find us in June. We hope to connect with you!
- June 1: Join Greenpeace International for this live discussion “Into the rabbit hole: a roundtable discussion on climate disinformation” with an expert panel on what climate disinformation looks like, who’s behind it, and what can be done to stop it.
- June 2-3: EUvsDisinfo is hosting a series of workshops on “Building Resilience Against Disinformation” where Alexandre Alaphilippe, Executive Director of the EU DisinfoLab, will moderate the session on Countering Information Threats. More information here.
- June 6-7: Some of our team members will attend the DFRLab Summit: “360/Open Summit: Contested Realities | Connected Futures”.
- June 7: First OSINT & Cyberinvestigation Day held during the FIC in Lille. Alexandre Alaphillippe will participate in the session on OSINT in geopolitics and against disinformation.
- June 6-10: RightsCon: EU DisinfoLab will be moderating a panel at RightsCon on June 10, co-organised with the Dangerous Speech Project, on ‘information first responders’ and the relationship between dis/misinformation and dangerous speech.
- June 9: Join the June EDMO BELUX Network Event “An analysis of recommendation algorithms on YouTube against disinformation in Belgium” by the CrossOver project. Register here to the session in English (2-3PM) and here for the session in French (3:15-4:15PM).
- June 13-14: EDMO Conference: Both our researchers, Maria Giovanna Sessa and Ana Romero, will respectively provide their input on the Covid-19 info sphere and through a training on cryptocurrencies and disinformation.
- Access Now is hiring a Surveillance Campaigner.
- ISD is looking for a HR Advisor.
- Tech Against Terrorism is recruiting a Junior Policy Analyst, Policy Response and Advisory Team.
- The Wikimedia Foundation is looking for a Senior Manager, Global Fundraising Campaigns.
- Globsec is offering fellowships to support civil society representatives, researchers, and think-tankers from Ukraine, whose work is being impeded by the war, to enable them to continue their activities.
- The Global Disinformation Index is hiring a Research Coordinator.
- Amnesty International is recruiting a Media and Communications Manager.
- The Reuters Institute is seeking a Director of Research.