Time: 09:00 - 15:00
Disinformation, influence operations, conspiracy theories, deep and cheap fakes and so called “fake news” are now everywhere. In a time where truth is more challenged than ever, we have launched a conference to learn from the brightest minds in the fight against disinformation.
We will take a look at the increasing challenge of disinformation and how it affects our democracy. We will discuss different solutions and how technology can be key to an enlightened society, based on facts, and expertise.
Save the date, June 8, for our conference and meeting of the experts at Media City Bergen. The conference is for everyone having an interest in the fight against misinformation and disinformation.
Hosting this year's conference will be award-winning journalist, Shirish Kulkarni. Among the speakers you will find:
- Kristoffer Egeberg - Editor, Faktisk.no
- Mari Velsand - Director General, The Norwegian Media Authority
- Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen - Special Adviser, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)
- Rebecca Skippage - Disinformation Editor, BBC News
- Reidun Kjelling Nybø - Secretary General, Association of Norwegian Editors
- Maria Amelie - CEO/Cofounder, Factiverse
- Olav Hjertaker - Founder & CEO, Web 64
- Ghazaal Sheikhi - Postdoctoral Fellow, MediaFutures
- Johanne Kalsaas - PhD-candidate in Russian media and communication studies at the University of Bergen
- Øystein Bogen - Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Author, TV 2.
08:30 - 09:00 - Registration
09:00 - Welcome by Shirish Kulkarni
Kristoffer Egeberg - Editor, Faktisk.no
Rebecca Skippage - Disinformation Editor, BBC News - Reaching the Unreached
- The rise in online misinformation has seen a rise in fact-checking and specialist disinformation journalism. Verification and Open Source Intelligence techniques are increasingly taught and used in newsrooms. But is this work reaching those most at risk at being affected by disinformation? And if not, what do journalists need to do to find them? Rebecca Skippage is the BBC’s Disinformation Editor. She researched these questions at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, and discusses her findings and its practical application.
Panel: Free speech in a age of disinformation - With Rebecca Skippage, Kristoffer Egeberg and TBA
10:20 - Break
Mari Velsand - Director General, The Norwegian Media Authority
Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen - Special Adviser, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)- Foreign influence operations – a threat to democracy
- Covert manipulation through social media and other means has become a major challenge for society. While states, like Russia and China, use manipulation to create favorable conditions to achieve own strategic goals, others employ the same means to make money or create unrest. How do they do it, why does it matter, and what can be done?
Bo Bergstedt -Technology Strategist, TV 2 Denmark - Can a deepfake trick a Danish politician?
- In 2020 everyone was talking about deepfakes, but no one really knew much about them and the potential danger they posed regarding disinformation. Especially journalists, but also politicians were left clueless when asked about the topic. TV 2 wanted to examine this further and set out to create 2 deepfakes with the intention to see how easy it would be to fool both regular people and politicians. Bo will show what happened when TV 2 did it and give a status on deepfakes in 2022.
12:00 - Lunch
Johanne Kalsaas - PhD-candidate in Russian media and communication studies at the University of Bergen - When information warfare goes viral: Networked influence efforts and the new age of conflict
- “The first social media war”, is the compelling name sometimes given to Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine. Whether true or not — there is little doubt that the intense participation of social media users at present is fundamentally challenging traditional notions of wartime propaganda and information influence. This talk uses Russia as a case to explore what happens when information warfare goes viral, highlighting how long-held ideas of the Kremlin’s “disinformation complex” suffer from a lack of knowledge about the participatory dynamics of contemporary propaganda.
Ghazaal Sheikhi - Postdoctoral Fellow, MediaFutures - Where we stand in pursuit of automated fact-checking: the promise and pitfalls of AI-based solutions
- Automated fact-checking merely has a decade-long history provoked by the idea of having a system to show real-time fact-check pop-ups during political debates, back then a far-fetched idea. Fast forward to today and AI researchers have since made a great contribution to the field by creating data sets, building novel approaches, and adapting existing techniques to devise new tools. Among the fact-checkers, however, there is no great excitement about the technology developed for this task since these tools are still of extremely inferior quality in practical settings. This presentation is neither meant to question the valuable efforts of the researchers in this field nor to discuss the research gaps. Instead, limitations and promises are discussed from two different perspectives: technological obstacles in automated fact-checking and the inherent challenges associated with the fact-checking procedure. A shared interpretation of what AI is (not) capable of and what fact-checkers need is critical for a constructive collaboration in tackling disinformation.
Maria Amelie - CEO/Cofounder, Factiverse - Three steps to stop echo chambers and prevent polarization
- Over the last years, false information and the term fake news have become a household name. The pressure on global platforms to undo some of the damage is growing. Do we need to close down social media in order to stop the spread of misinformation, or are there steps for a more nuanced approach?
Olav Hjertaker - Founder & CEO, Web 64 - Media Monitoring tools for fact-checkers
- Over 5000 articles are published every day in both Norway and Belgium. Of all those articles being published daily, which ones should be fact-checked? To combat misinformation it is important that as many people as possible read the fact-checks. How can you measure the reach of the fact-check to compare it with the original article that was checked? Find out how Web64 solves these problems.
13:50 - Break
Melanie Burford - Award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and producer - The vulnerability of truth within the age of misinformation: Authenticating the journalistic image.
- In a post-Trump era, the race to authenticate online visual content has begun to combat the rising tide of disinformation and misinformation. From a 2014 report, 1,8 billion photographs were uploaded to the internet every day. By 2027, there will be 100 times more online content than is being uploaded today, and at the same time, AI technology, synthetic content, and deep fake technology are being developed at breakneck speeds. Content authenticity technology for online journalistic visual content is being developed for media companies to validate and protect the truth.
- Her talk will also include a short address by Santiago Lyon, Head of Advocacy and Education for the Adobe-led Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) – a group working together to fight misinformation and add a layer of verifiable trust to all types of digital content.
Øystein Bogen - Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Author, TV 2 - Russia’s Secret War Against the West
- Russia’s campaign to undermine the West has ancient roots. Why has the current Russian regime put so vast resources into influencing other countries and how has it evolved, and why does Chinese and Russian disinformation still reach Western Audiences, despite an increasing awareness among media gatekeepers.
Panel: How Russia is working to spread its narrative, and what can be done to stop it - With Øystein Bogen, Johanne Kalsaas, Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen and Maria Amelie
Presentation of the Anne Jacobsen Memorial Award.
About the speakers:
Shirish is an award-winning journalist and researcher with 25 years’ experience working in all the UK’s major broadcast newsrooms. More recently he’s worked as a freelance investigative journalist and as a community organiser at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
His experience spans innovation, inclusion. engagement and AI and he’sspent the last three years asking fundamental questions about the purpose and practice of journalism, in order to help build an industry ready to face the challenges of an increasingly complex, challenging and contested world.
Kristoffer Egeberg is Editor in Chief and CEO of Faktisk.no. Egeberg was part of the founding project group behind Faktisk.no, and became its first Editor in Chief.
From 2002 to 2017 he was an investigative news reporter in the Norwegian national daily Dagbladet, where he also had postings as foreign correspondent in China and worked as an assistant online news editor. He is a winner of Norway’s most prestigious journalism award, Skup (2014), and the IR-prize for international reporting (2015).
He is also an author, with his critically acclaimed documentary book «Fredsnasjonen Norge» (Norway, the nation of peace), about Norwegian foreign- and defense policy since the Cold War. Egeberg is a veteran soldier and former army officer with several tours of duty in UN and NATO missions in Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo.
He has studies in crisis management and civil protection from Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.
Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen
Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen has both a civilian and military background that includes 18 years of experience with strategic communications from the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Armed Forces, tech and the communications industry. Sivertsen has been a strategic communications adviser to five different defense ministers, plans chief for psychological operations (PSYOPS) in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and he has also been a member of the Ministry of Defense’s crisis staff.
In recent years he has specialized in influence operations, including actors, methods and concepts, vulnerability analyzes and measures to strengthen the resilience of society. As a special adviser at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and one of Norway’s leading specialists on information warfare, Sivertsen is a frequently used speaker and advisor for the ministries and the defence sector.
Rebecca is the BBC's first Disinformation Editor. She leads teams based in the UK, Africa and India that observe, report and investigate disinformation trends, verify and debunk misinformation, and create digital material to help people recognise and avoid 'fake news'. She developed and led the BBC’s verification effort of fake and misleading images during the Ukraine crisis.
Rebecca was a 2020/1 fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, where she focused on how Public Service Media should learn from 'bad actors' to reach those currently missing accurate, impartial news and information.
A journalist for more than 20 years, Rebecca has advised the UK and EU governments and NATO StratCom on disinformation, and appeared as a speaker, moderator and panellist at international events on disinformation, security and media.
Mari Velsand is Director General at the Norwegian Media Authority, a position she has held since 2017.
When she entered the authority, she came from the media business, where she for more than 20 years held different management positions. She has been a part of the top management team at NRK (the Norwegian public broadcasting company), Chief Editor of the national newspaper Nationen and Executive Vice President at Amedia, the second largest media company in Norway.
Mari has studied journalism and has a master of management from the Norwegian school of management, BI.
She has also over the years held a number of board positions within the Norwegian media industry, and she has been Norway’s representative in the board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN IFRA).
Maria Amelie, is CEO and Co-founder of Factiverse. She is an award winning journalist, author of 5 non-fiction books on migration, freedom of speech and entrepreneurship. Prior to Factiverse, she founded Startup Migrants, a 3-day course to discover and support young multicultural founders.
Olav is an entrepreneur and a true full-stack developer, equally comfortable working with front-end technologies such as VueJS, bulding web-apps with Laravel, maintaining big-data analytics systems, Machine Learning and Natural Language Prosessing in python to online marketing.
With a degree in Computer Engineering from University of London, Olav has 20 years experience developing web applications mainly in the fields of publishing, information retrieval, data visualization and social media.
Ghazaal Sheikhi is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies. Her research interests revolve around machine learning, natural language processing and content analysis. Ghazaal investigates (semi) automated methods and tools for fact checking and content verification to foster trustworthy news. This research focuses on computational text and image/video analysis from social media and unverified resources to identify deceptions and manipulations.
Before, Ghazaal was an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, Final International University, North Cyprus. She holds a PhD in Computer Engineering (Machine Learning) from Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus and a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. Ghazaal has published 7 papers in the area of machine learning and pattern recognition in competitive conferences and journals.
You can find a list of Ghazaa’s publications on Google Scholar: Scholar
Johanne Kalsaas is a PhD-candidate in Russian media and communication studies at the University of Bergen. Her doctoral project focuses on Russian digital (notably user-generated) narratives about Norway, aiming to uncover if and/or how these narratives are shaped by pro-Kremlin informational influence efforts. Johanne is especially interested in the notion of participatory propaganda, and how social media can make disinformation and other manipulative messaging go ‘viral’. Her research lies at the intersection of online news debate, digital culture and contemporary propaganda.
This event is a part of the Media City Bergen Future Week, a media and mediatech festival consisting of a number of research seminars, conferences, workshops, breakfast meetings, popup talks, entertainment, demos, presentations, debates, talks, and discussions. Save the dates 7 - 10 June, for Future Week 22, a week of inspiring events in Bergen, Oslo, and Stavanger.