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Antagonising fact-checkers: the misappropriation of fact-checking to polarise the Spanish informational landscape

For several months, the EU DisinfoLab has detected the apparition of several new actors in the Spanish informational landscape that position themselves as antagonistic alternatives to well-established Spanish fact-checkers.

Research is a core part of what we do. It involves identifying, uncovering, and explaining disinformation campaigns and networks, using open source investigation techniques (OSINT) and social media network analysis methodologies. We disseminate our findings via our partnerships with the media and leading experts in the field.

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For several months, the EU DisinfoLab has detected the apparition of several new actors in the Spanish informational landscape that position themselves as antagonistic alternatives to well-established Spanish fact-checkers.
Most of the time, one of the first purposes, if not the only purpose, of a CIB network is to increase amplification of content: looking at content distribution metrics will help to detect or to uncover a possible CIB network.
On 11 November 2020, the French company Tprod released a COVID-19 conspiracy documentary called “Hold-up”. The documentary is based on interviews of several French-speaking controversial figures and conspiracy theorists, which have been part of the main sources of COVID-19 disinformation in the French language.
491 pages of monthly COVID-19 disinformation monitoring reports from Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter, dated from August 2020 to March 2021, squeezed into 2 colourful timelines and 1 article.
Although a clear and widely accepted definition of CIB is currently missing, the concept of malicious account networks, using varying ways of interacting with each other, is observed as central to any attempt to identify CIB
Vaccines did not receive very significant media coverage in the Russian state-controlled media in French (namely Sputnik France and Russia Today En Français) until Russia had a candidate vaccine.
As Rappler journalists report from Manila, the absurd claim that the family of the late dictator and president Ferdinand Marcos owns a million tons of gold is still proliferating on YouTube, despite debunks by historians and independent fact checkers in the Philippines.
We hope this methodology will help researchers and NGOs to populate their investigations and reports with evidence of CIB. This could improve the communication channels between independent researchers and online platforms to provide a wider and more public knowledge of platforms policies and takedowns around CIB and Information Operations.
As a follow-up from our earlier investigation, here we examine the subsequent question of how anti-vaccine disinformation spreads in countries where Facebook does not have independent third-party fact-checkers.
Major platforms have found themselves in the role of first responders, responsible for removing what is in some cases life-threatening health misinformation, as well as for disseminating essential updates about the sanitary situation, government measures and advice from health professionals.