Freedom of Press
How to counter disinformation
Disinformation, hatred, incitement against dissenters and manipulation with false or falsified depictions have developed into a danger to freedom of expression, domination-free discourse and democratic processes in recent years with the increasing digitalisation of the political discourse.
The Many Faces Fighting Disinformation 2.0
2021 proved another pivotal year in Europe for our information ecosystems and our response to these challenges. In 2020, the European Commission released their roadmap strategies on democratic infrastructure and media sustainability, the European Democracy Action Plan and the European Media and Audiovisual Action Plan, and launched the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) for fact-checkers, academics, and disinformation experts. In 2021, the European institutions pushed forward on the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, regulatory packages to clarify the role and responsibilities of online platforms and increase accountability for online disinformation, alongside a much-needed update to the Code of Practice on Disinformation. During these efforts, the Facebook Papers sent waves across the counter-disinformation space, affirming the concerns of civil society, and motivating lawmakers to double down on their proposals. isinformation is a global challenge but with highly cultural, linguistic, and contextual elements. It must therefore be met by a thriving, resilient, and harmonised network of civil society actors. The research that follows is part of our effort at the EU DisinfoLab to support these organisations, initiatives, and individuals working to counter disinformation across Europe. Our research shows that European civil society is rising to the disinformation challenge with new types of expertise from public databases to digital forensics to media literacy experiments. However, it also shows that this network is nascent and fragile, and that its autonomy and impact are not guaranteed.
A project by EU DisinfoLab and the European Dialogue of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Deepfakes and Disinformation
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in our society - but the new possibilities of this technology are also accompanied by new risks. One of these risks is the misuse of the technology for the deliberate dissemination of false information. Even though the possible use of AI-manipulated content, deepfakes, in election campaigns is being discussed primarily, this type of video only accounts for a fraction of all manipulations: In 96% of cases, the technology is used to create pornographic films featuring prominent women. How should we deal with this? What legal provisions are there for this? And what are the potential positive applications of deepfake technology?
What can be done to counter fake news?
The 2016 US presidential elections moved the debate about phenomena such as “hate speech” and “fake news” to the centre of public attention. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom therefore commissioned the communication researchers Dr Philipp Müller and Nora Denner to analyse the impact of these phenomena.
In their study, they review how fake news affects the way in which citizens form their opinions and then describe various ways of addressing the problem. This is the second edition of the study, which continues to attract a lot of attention and which was therefore updated to include the most recent research findings.
One of the more unexpected findings is that the problem might be less widespread than previously thought.
Behind Closed Curtains
The novel coronavirus that has been rampant since the beginning of 2020 revealed what many people, at least in Germany, were unaware of: disinformation is also present in the non-political sphere, and it is increasingly being spread via messengers such as WhatsApp and Telegram. In Germany, for example, two voice messages went viral via WhatsApp and spread disinformation about the virus. What findings do we have so far on the spread of disinformation via messengers? The paper explores this question, and looks not only at Germany but also at India and Brazil - two countries that have already had to struggle with the problem to a considerable extent. What can politics, what can we do to stop the mass spread of disinformation?
Check your facts the Animate Europe way! Debunking Disinformation: A Comic Book Toolbox is a new publication project that dives into common forms of disinformation – otherwise known as “fake news” – and takes us on a ride to discover its mechanisms ,
Disinformation on Steroids
We have a big problem with disinformation. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, at the latest, the subject has been on everyone's lips. In our discussion on “Disinformation on Steroids” we talked about the implications of disinformation on social media platforms worldwide and got an impression about the dimensions of the problem in specific world regions.