Data analysis company Alto Analytics also shows a number of cross-border themes such as immigration, Islam, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests, for example. Europe’s far-right leaders were using Facebook to transcend the borders as it is shown in the video about a Belgian politician sponsored by the Hungarian government. Such a strategy represents a new trend in the spread of illiberalism in the EU, says Yiannis Baboulias in the Atlantic.
Activist organisation Avaaz uncovered that far-right and anti-EU groups are weaponising social media to spread false and hateful content. The study led to the taking down of dozens of Facebook pages around Europe, which were seen over half a billion times over the election campaign period.
Do these findings show that disinformation campaigns didn’t happen? EU vs Disinfo recalls us that domestic disinformation shouldn’t be seen as the “new normal” in the European political debate. Quite the contrary, fake news have evolved beyond the playbook used by Russian trolls in the U.S. election.
EU DisinfoLab for the European Parliamentary Research Service (2019). Automated tackling of disinformation
This study maps and analyses current and future threats from online misinformation, alongside currently adopted socio-technical and legal approaches. The challenges of evaluating their effectiveness and practical adoption are also discussed. Drawing on and complementing existing literature, the study summarises and analyses the findings of relevant journalistic and scientific studies and policy reports in relation to detecting, containing and countering online disinformation and propaganda campaigns. It traces recent developments and trends and identifies significant new or emerging challenges. It also addresses potential policy implications for the EU of current socio-technical solutions.
Frau-Meigs (2018). Societal costs of fake news in the digital single market, a study requested by the IMCO Committee, European Parliament (PE 626.087)
This study explores the mechanisms of “fake news” and their societal costs in the Digital Single Market. It describes the risks to the integrity of information and to the integrity of elections. It highlights the roles of the various actors involved in the production and amplification of such information disorders. Finally, it outlines responses that are being tested in different parts of Europe to deal with the issue.
Innes (2019). The Internet Research Agency in Europe 2014-2016
This report documents the scale of Russian interference in European democracies, and is evidence of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency’s long-term interest in European politics and elections.
Institut Montaigne (2019). MEDIA POLARIZATION ‘À LA FRANÇAISE’? Comparing the French and American Ecosystems
This is a comparative analysis of the French and American ecosystems and the polarisation of their media. The report notes that the polarisation of the French media space is less aligned with political actors than that of American media, due to the multiplicity of political actors in France.
An ISD interim briefing on Elections Information Operations Analysis presented the move towards an aggressive “narrative competition”, promoting a “culture war” dynamic around issues like migration, Muslims in Europe, family vs. progressive values.
Konstantinovskiy et al. (2018). Towards automated fact-checking: developing an annotation schema and benchmark for consistent automated claim detection
This is a collaborative project between Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity, and academic partners. The work consists of identifying the set of sentences, out of a long text, deemed capable of being fact-checked.
Marwick and Lewis (2017). Media manipulation and disinformation online
The study analyses how internet subcultures take advantage of the current media ecosystem to manipulate news frames, set agendas, and propagate ideas.
McNamee (2019). ‘Zucked – Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe‘
The New York Times bestseller about a noted tech venture capitalist, early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook investor, who wakes up to the serious damage Facebook is doing to our society – and sets out to try to stop it.
Only by analysing tweets related to the hashtags on EU elections, the Oxford Internet Institute found that the majority of news pieces shared on the topic came from mainstream news outlets. The study also focuses on junk news networks in Europe.
Polyakova and Fried (2019). ‘Democratic Defence Against Disinformation’ for the Atlantic Council
This paper analyses the rapid development of policy responses of governments and social media companies to the challenge of disinformation.
Ramsay and Robertshaw (2019). Weaponising news RT, Sputnik and targeted disinformation
The report contains three separate analyses of English-language news content published by RT and Sputnik and its implications for news organisations in Western democracies. Together, the analyses comprise a comprehensive analysis of how Russian state-linked news outlets play a variety of roles in different situations, ranging from coordinating damage-control messaging to amplifiers of Russian prestige and aggregators of negative content about Western domestic politics.
Shore, Baek, and Dellarocas (2016). Network structure and patterns of information diversity on Twitter
Considering that users can choose whom to follow, prior research suggests that social media users exist in “echo chambers” or become polarized. The authors seek evidence of this in a complete cross-section of hyperlinks posted on Twitter, using previously validated measures of the political slant of news sources to study information diversity.
The article presents an overview of the current state of the literature on the relationship between social media; political polarization; and political “disinformation,” a term used to encompass a wide range of types of information about politics found online, including “fake news,” rumors, deliberately factually incorrect information, inadvertently factually incorrect information, politically slanted information, and “hyperpartisan” news.
In this study, the authors argue that the effects of informational uses of social media on political participation are inextricable from its effects on misinformation sharing.
Wardle and Herakhshan (2017). Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making, Council of Europe DGI
This report attempts to comprehensively examine information disorder and its related challenges, such as filter bubbles and echo chambers.