Panel: Fact or Fake? Tools & Practices to Fight Disinformation – Brussels Press Club

On February 26 CMPF Project Assistant, Luc Steinberg attended the first of the Brussels Press Club’s first Digital Forum event for 2018. Luc was joined by Jochen Spangenberg (Deutsche Welle – DW Innovation), Klára Votavová (Tackling Fake News About the EU workshop organiser and author of the report Making online platforms responsible for news content), Joyce Stroobant (Center for Journalism Studies, Ghent University) and moderator Juliane von Reppert-Bismark (Lie Detectors).

The panel opened with presentations from the participants. With a presentation by Jochen Spangenberg on the work of DW Research and Innovation, such as the Reveal Project – an effort featuring international partners and supported by the European Union at social media verification and aims to “aims to advance the necessary technologies for making a higher level analysis of social media possible.” Jochen also presented InVid, a browser plugin application to assist users in verifying videos and images online.

Klara Votavova spoke about her work organising the Tackle Fake News About the EU workshop which involved various stakeholders and engaged young EU trainees in discussion around disinformation and its effects on the EU. Klara presented the workshops results and the subsequent report which can be found here.  .

Joyce Stroobant spoke about her interesting work at Ghent University on an often overlooked topic of mis- and disinformation, that of health journalism. Some of Joyce’s academic papers can be found here.

Following Luc Steinberg’s presentation on the work he did at EAVI on classifying different types of mis- and disinformation with the Beyond Fake News and Beyond the Headlines infographics and demonstrating free software tools and use cases for verifying or fact-checking content, the panel discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by, what First Draft Media’s report for the Council of Europe termed, ‘information disorder’ and also the so-called democratisation of media whereby the traditional one-way-street of media and information dissemination has been broken by near-universal access and platforms that give citizens an opportunity to share, impart, discuss and make media themselves.

The panelists discussed how to engage young people, the power of online intermediaries and the benefits of media literacy education for increasing critical thinking among people of all ages but also its potential limits. Some panelists took the position that appropriate regulatory mechanisms that represent users and help to curb the scourge of “”fake news” not be abandoned in favour of cursory support for media literacy. However, there was some dispute about how this would be done without limiting freedom of expression and other human rights.