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EDMO establishes a taskforce on disinformation about the war in Ukraine

A new taskforce will steer and collect material to help understand disinformation trends in the war in Ukraine

The taskforce will focus on disinformation in EU and EEA countries, as well as the western Balkans, collecting and sorting relevant material covering various aspects such as fact-checking, investigations, rapid analysis, and research on disinformation campaigns, as well as specific media literacy initiatives. The taskforce also aims to identify relevant datasets needed to understand the disinformation campaigns.

EDMO has already published a regularly updated list of fact-checking articles regarding the war.

Collected materials can also inform policymakers, including the European Commission, to help understand the disinformation phenomenon and contribute to an evidence-based decision-making process on the war in Ukraine.

“The EDMO taskforce will aim at maximising the impact of the good work being done already by independent actors across Europe by gathering, cataloguing, and sharing fact-checked information, as well as analysing and investigating disinformation narratives and campaigns. Quickly identifying and understanding disinformation trends in the current crisis helps to foster societal resilience and inform policymaking,” said taskforce Chair Claire Wardle, Executive Director of First Draft.

The taskforce members will collaborate with the national and regional EDMO hubs , with the small-scale online media projects and with relevant actors across Europe.

Composition of the task force on 4 March:

Claire Wardle, Professor of the Practice at Brown University, is co-founder and director of the Information Futures Lab. She is considered a leader in the field of misinformation, verification and user generated content, co-authoring the foundational report, Information Disorder: An interdisciplinary Framework for Research and Policy for the Council of Europe. In 2015, Claire co-founded the non-profit First Draft, a pioneer in innovation, research and practice in the field of misinformation. Over the past decade she has developed an organization-wide training program for the BBC on eyewitness media, verification and misinformation, led social media policy at UNHCR,  been a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and been the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.

 Information Futures Lab 

The Information Futures Lab at Brown University School of Public Health is a newly established initiative, building on the work and mission of the non-profit First Draft. It is designed to bring together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to design new technologies, infrastructures and best practices for healthy information ecosystems.

Alexandre Alaphilippe is the executive director and co-founder of the EU DisinfoLab. Since 2017, he has coordinated work on some of the organisation’s largest investigations into Information Operations linked to Russia, India and China, and is a member of a number of working groups in Brussels and Washington DC linked to platform regulation, transatlantic relations, and hybrid threats, where he emphasises the role of civil society in maintaining democratic values. He has published papers for the Brookings Institution and his work has been featured on CNN, BBC, Le Monde and Politico.

Alina Bârgăoanu is a Romanian communication scholar, member of the Expert group on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training, EC (since 2021), visiting fellow al Center for European Studies at Harvard University (October 2018 – March 2019) and member of the High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation, EC (2018). She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Antifake.ro, a fact-checking and digital literacy portal that is part of EDMO fact-checking network. She is a regular contributor in several Romanian media with articles and opinion pieces on disinformation, technology and the new information ecosystem.

Anja Bechmann (PhD) is a full professor at Media Studies and director of the interdisciplinary research center DATALAB – Center for Digital Social Research at Aarhus University in Denmark. Her research examines digital and social media communication and collective behavior using large-scale data collection and applied machine learning. She is Chief Investigator (CI) of the EU project NORDIS, executive board member of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), and appointed member of the Academy of Technical Sciences in Denmark. She has been a member of the EU Commission High-level expert group on fake news and disinformation and is continuously invited as an independent academic to provide research-based talks, white papers or comments on drafts by e.g., European Parliament. In 2019 she was appointed Thinker in Residence by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. Her research has been funded by national and international research councils such as the Danish Council for Independent Research, Swedish Research Council, Danish Agency for Science and Innovation, Horizon 2020, EU CEF, and Aarhus University Research Foundation.

Prof. Dr. Kalina Bontcheva leads the Natural Language Processing Group at the Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield. She is also a visiting researcher at the Big Data and Smart Society Institute in Bulgaria. Between 2014 and 2016 Bontcheva conceived and lead the PHEME project, which was amongst the first EU projects to study computational methods for the detection and tracking of disinformation in social media. She is currently the scientific director of the WeVerify project where her team is researching AI-based methods for disinformation detection and analysis; member of the EDMO Advisory Board; and the technical coordinator of the Irish EDMO project. Since 2015 Bontcheva has been working also on real-time social media analysis around United Kingdom general elections and referendums and on monitoring and analysis of online abuse towards UK politicians. Most recently she co-authored an ITU/UNESCO study, Balancing Act: Countering Digital Disinformation while Respecting Freedom of Expression and two UNESCO policy briefs on Combating the Disinfodemic: Working for Truth in the Time of COVID-19.

Tommaso Canetta (Milan, 1986) is the deputy director of Pagella Politica, the main Italian fact-checking outlet, and the coordinator of the fact-checking activities of EDMO. He contributes to the activities of IDMO, the Italian national hub of EDMO, works on several European projects (e.g. the European Code of Practice on Disinformation, or the European Fact-Checking Standards Network Project) and writes about political fact-checking, especially about legal issues. Before joining Pagella Politica we wrote mainly about foreign policy and Italian politics as a freelancer. Graduated in Law at the University of Milan, and specialized in European and International Law, after two years of School of Journalism (Master in Journalism “Walter Tobagi”) he became a professional journalist in 2012.

Dominika Hajdu is a Policy Director at the Centre for Democracy & Resilience at GLOBSEC, Bratislava-based think tank. Heading the Centre which focuses on information manipulation, disinformation and actors and techniques undermining democracies, she has been working in the field since 2017 and led several research, awareness-raising and capacity-building projects in Central and Eastern Europe. She co-authored and published a range of reports analysing the spread and impact of information manipulation in the region and founded an initiative – Alliance for Healthy Infosphere – advocating for a secure and just online information space in the EU, with a special focus on equal treatment of “smaller markets” with unique languages. Dominika sits on the board of Konspiratori.sk, an initiative aiming to demonetise disinformation in Slovakia and holds MA in EU Foreign Policy from the University of Leuven.

Carlos Hernández-Echevarría (Madrid, 1983) is the Head of Public Policy and Institutional Development at Maldita.es. He has overseen the nonprofit fact-checker’s advocacy and regulatory efforts since 2020. He has been deeply involved in the drafting of the European Code of Practice on Disinformation and other policy instruments to fight disinformation. Before joining Maldita.es, Carlos worked in television for 15 years. He has a BA in Journalism (Universidad San Pablo CEU, Madrid, 2006) and a MA in Elections and Campaign Management (Fordham University, New York, 2014) as a Fulbright scholar. He is a regular contributor in several Spanish media and a lecturer at Universidad Europea.

Roman Imielski  is Deputy Editor in Chief and Political Editor of “Gazeta Wyborcza” – the leading Polish quality newspaper with average selling around 60 000 paper copies and Wyborcza.pl site with 290 000 paid subscribers.

Head of investigative team of „Gazeta Wyborcza”, responsible for most important investigative articles since 2016. Commentator of Polish and international political affairs in TV and radio. Former Foreign and News Editor, specialized in internal affairs, European Union issues, transatlantic relations and Russia.

Born in 1972, working for “Gazeta Wyborcza” from 1995. Historian, graduate of University of Silesia. Co-author a book „The most important Kremlin’s game” about football World Cup in 2018 in Russia. Speaking English and Russian.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.

His research is focused on the changing role of news and media in our societies. He has written extensively about journalism, digital media, the business of news, political communication, misinformation and related topics in dozens of scholarly articles, edited volumes, and books, including Ground Wars: Personalized Communication in Political Campaigns (winner of the American Political Science Association’s Doris Graber Award for the best book on political communication published in the last ten years) and The Power of Platforms (with Sarah Anne Ganter). In addition, he is co-author of the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

A frequent speaker at academic, industry, and policy-making conferences, he has provided expert advice to both governments and news media companies in several countries. His work has been covered by a wide variety of media all over the world, and he has written for El Pais, the Indian Express, the Washington Post, and many other publications. He tweets at @rasmus_kleis.

Sonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), OBE, FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, is a full professor in the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published 20 books on media audiences, children and young people’s risks and opportunities, media literacy and rights in the digital environment. She directs the Digital Futures Commission (with the 5Rights Foundation) and Global Kids Online (with UNICEF). She has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, OECD, ITU and UNICEF and others on children’s internet safety and rights in the digital environment. She directs the Digital Futures Commission (with the 5Rights Foundation) and Global Kids Online (with UNICEF). See www.sonialivingstone.net

[email protected]

The Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science is a world-leading centre for education and research in communication and media studies at the heart of LSE’s academic community in central London. We are ranked #1 in the UK and #3 globally in our field (2022 QS World University Rankings). [email protected] organises its research around four research themes: Media Culture and Identities; Media Participation and Politics; Communication Histories and Futures; Communication, Technology, Rights and Justice.

Gianni Riotta is the Pirelli Visiting Professor at Princeton University, focusing on digital humanities. He is the Dean of the Master of Communication and Research Center Datalab at Luiss University, Rome, where he coordinates IDMO, national hub of the European Digital Media Observatory. Columnist for La Repubblica and Huffington Post, Gianni Riotta is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He contributes to the BBC World Service. His op ed have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Foreign Affairs. He lives in New York and Rome. Graduated in Logic at the University of Palermo and Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School.

Grzegorz Rzeczkowski is the investigative reporter contributing to Gazeta Wyborcza, the most influential Polish daily. He is also a lecturer at Journalism and New Media Department in Collegium Civitas, Warsaw.

His focus is Russian interference and disinformation targeting Western democracies. His investigations culminated in two books. First was the 2019 bestselling book In a Foreign Alphabet: Eavesdropping by the Kremlin and Law & Justice. This describes the Russian links to the 2014 wire-tapping scandal that fatally discredited the Polish government. In 2020 he realized his second book “Post-Smolensk. Who broke Poland” about conspiracy theories sowed in 2010 after the Smolensk crash which caused the deaths of President Lech Kaczyński and 95 other notable Polish figures.

Renate Schroeder is the Director of the European Federation of Journalists, In 1993 she joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and since 2003 she works for the EFJ. Advocacy at EU and Council of Europe level; presentation of EFJ at international meetings and fact-finding media freedom missions; member of juries of journalistic prizes, project work, communication and assistance in several EFJ expert groups including on freelancers, media literacy and digital journalism, cover her work-load in the small dynamic Brussels office. She has talked about disinformation and the challenges of journalism and trust also in regard to the Digital Services Act and the work of the EU High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Disinformation at many conferences.

Renate studied International Relations and Political Science at Boston University (Bachelor’s Degree in 1988) and in Berlin at the Free University (Masters in 1992). She worked at the United Nations, New York, the research institute FAST in Berlin and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation in Brussels before she joined the EFJ. She is of German nationality and speaks English, French, Italian, German and passive Spanish;

Jochen Spangenberg is Deputy Head of Research and Cooperation Projects at Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The focus of his work over the past decade has been on research dealing with social newsgathering, analysis and verification of digital content, and relating all this to news reporting. This included, among others, DW’s lead in projects such as WeVerify, InVID and REVEAL. Jochen also lectures at the Free University Berlin in Media & Communication Sciences, is an active supporter of Lie Detectors, an NGO that brings media literacy into classrooms, an Advisory Board member of EDMO (European Digital Media Observatory) and chair of the Central European Digital Media Observatory Advisory Board (CEDMO).

Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international public service media organisation. It provides multimedia news and information services to a worldwide audience in 32 languages via a variety of platforms, supporting audiences in forming their own opinions on topics of relevance. DW programming aims to promote the understanding and exchange of ideas among different cultures and peoples. With the overall aim to foster a peaceful and stable global community, the  topical focus of programming lies on freedom and human rights issues, democracy and good governance, free trade and social justice, health education and environmental protection, technology and innovation.

Paweł Terpiłowski is a chief editor at Demagog, the first Polish fact-checking organization, and an Eastern Europe expert in Polish think tank Ambitna Polska. He is also PhD student at Wroclaw University, where he is preparing a thesis on contemporary Ukrainian nationalism. His main areas of expertise are: security policy of Eastern Europe countries, Ukrainian politics, state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda operations, radical ideologies and political movements. He authored numerous papers in the aforementioned fields. He is also a regular commentator in leading Polish media outlets.

Dr. Rebekah Tromble is Director of the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics and Associate Professor in the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University. Her research focuses on political communication, digital research methodology, and research ethics, with particular interests in political discourse on social media, as well as the impacts of exposure to abusive content. Dr. Tromble is currently leading a team of international researchers from both the social and computer sciences to investigate the “health” of political conversations on Twitter. She also leads Expert Voices Together, a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator program, developing a rapid response system to support journalists, scientists, public health officials, and other experts facing campaigns of online harassment. Dr. Tromble consults regularly for industry and policymakers, particularly on topics of digital platform accountability, responsible data access and use, and best practices for combating the effects of disinformation. She is also a member of the European Digital Media Observatory’s Advisory Board, where she serves as Chair of the multi-stakeholder Working Group on Platform-to-Researcher Data Access.

Richard Woods is International Policy Director at the Global Disinformation index. He is the  strategic lead in shaping GDI’s policy and stakeholder engagement with EU, UK, and US institutions to drive global efforts on combating online disinformation. Richard has been heavily involved  in the practical negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and current EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, spearheading the push to defund advertising-funded disinformation. He has been an advisor and independent expert to European governments and multilateral partners to advocate for the full integration of financial and sustainability disclosure in company reporting to shape the direction of European Sustainability Reporting Standards. During this time he was appointed to the UN Financing for Development Sub-group on Sustainability and Climate Action to support work on how the SDGs could  inform the jurisdictional, regional and global dimensions of sustainability disclosure. He is currently a member of the Business 20 (B20) Indonesia Taskforce on sustainability. This is the official G20 dialogue forum with the business community.