20 minutes on fighting disinformation

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Published 08.05.2022
Every Friday from 10:00-10:20, we present a new talk in the series: 20 minutes on fighting disinformation.

In a time where truth is more challenged than ever, we invite you for 20 minutes, once a week, to learn from the brightest minds on the fight against disinformation.
This series of events will serve as an arena for all involved in the fight against disinformation. Ranging from journalists, fact-checkers, researchers, technology companies, to media organizations in a joint effort to address this challenge to reliable media, and threat to democracy.

Next session will be announced over the summer

Previous sessions

3 June: The Cognitive Science of Misinformation

The standard view of the mind assumes that people are rational processors of information and that information is processed in the brain. I offer several reasons to reject this view. The main one is that people aren't particularly interested in truth; they are interested in channeling their communities. I draw out some implications for how to understand, and what to do about, fake news.

Bio on Steven Sloman

Steven Sloman is a Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences. He has taught at Brown since 1992. In 2017 he created the Behavioral Decision Sciences concentration and is currently concentration advisor. He is a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Society, and the Eastern Psychological Association. He is the 2020 INSEAD-Sorbonne Université Distinguished Visiting Chair in Behavioural Sciences. His published work includes a 2005 book Causal Models: How We Think about the World and Its Alternatives and a 2017 co-authored book entitled The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, along with many peer-reviewed scholarly articles and editorials for the general public. His service includes a number of editorial stints including Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cognition from 2015-2018. Along with basic research on cognition, he has done collaborative work with computer scientists, philosophers, health professionals, and political scientists. He has done public and international outreach including serving on the Steering Committee, European Commission Joint Research Council, Enlightenment 2.0 Initiative 2018-2020 and speaking engagements with the Rhode Island Federal Court and the Rhode Island Supreme Court. He has been funded by NSF, NIH, NASA, Unilever Corporation, the John Templeton Foundations, and with other small grants.

27 May: Trained to deceive: When AI is a blessing and a curse for online disinformation 

The adoption of AI to allow computers to disguise as humans on social media, generate synthetic text and create deepfakes has increased its ability to fuel the spread of disinformation. Social Bots, cyborgs, and trolls have been exploited to manipulate online conversations and amplify fake news to a massive scale. On the other hand, sophisticated AI tools can usually perform screening and detection tasks at scale and speed. Automated bot and fake news detection, visual content verification and automated fact-checking are some of the key areas where AI aids the fight against disinformation. This talk discusses the ways AI can be trained to deceive the masses and the ways it can be the fire to fight fire. 

Bio on Ghazaal Sheikhi

Ghazaal Sheikhi is a PostDoc at MediaFutures: Research Centre for Responsible Media Technology & Innovation at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at UiB.. 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. 

13 May: Project Origin – Protecting Trusted Media

Misinformation is a growing threat to the integrity of the information eco-system. Having a provable source of origin for media, and knowing that it has not been tampered with en-route, will help to maintain confidence in news from trusted providers. This technical provenance approach, in conjunction with media education and synthetic media detection techniques will help to establish a foundation for trust in media.

Bio on Judy Parnall: 

Judy is a passionate advocate of all things media and its positive power for audiences. As Head of Standards & Industry in the BBC Research & Development, Judy coordinates on the strategy for the influencing industry and government for media technology innovation, including the BBC’s input to standards and industry bodies across production, broadcast and other media spheres.

Judy has worked in the BBC for a number of years in both R&D and the corporate strategy areas. Her research interests have centre on the interaction of people with technology and services across all media and is leading work on Public Service Media in the Internet age. Judy has sat on the EBU’s Technical Committee since 2015 and chaired it since June 2018. She also sits on the Steering Board of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity.

6 May:  Image and Video Verification in the Age of Disinformation

In this talk, Duc Tien Dang Nguyen will give a broad overview of the raise of new threats in image and video manipulation and generation and how researchers seek to advance methods to reveal them. The talk will also cover how researchers collaborate with industrial partners to counter disinformation.

Bio on Duc Tien Dang Nguyen

Duc Tien Dang Nguyen is an associate professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen. His main area of expertise is on multimedia forensics, lifelogging, multimedia retrieval, and computer vision. He is a member of MediaFutures WP3 – Media Content Analysis and Production in Journalism and The Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorder (NORDIS), mainly working on visual content verification.

29 April: How to use the latest tools of the InVID-WeVerify verification plugin to debunk disinformation around the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Through a few "real life" examples on videos, photos, and social network post, Denis Teyssou (AFP), the InVID-WeVerify plugin founder and maker, will showcase a bunch of new tools (Assistant, OCR, CheckGIF, SNA) that are helpful for fact-checkers, journalists, and researchers in tacking disinformation about the Russian war

Bio on Denis Teyssou

Denis Teyssou is managing Agence France-Presse (AFP) Medialab R&D. After serving as a reporter and news editor, he evolved towards journalism and innovative tech projects. He has been the innovation manager of the EU projects InVID (2016-2018) and WeVerify (2018-2021) and he coordinated in 2021 the IFCN EnVisu4 project.

Denis is the founder and maker of the InVID-WeVerify verification plugin launched in July 2017 and now used worldwide by 65,000 weekly active users (fact-checkers, journalists, researchers, human rights defenders, teachers, etc.). Denis is also a PhD candidate in media studies on disinformation and propaganda on social networks at Paris Nanterre University. He has co-edited the book Video Verification in the Fake News Era (2019, Springer) and co-authored the UNESCO report Balancing Act: Countering Digital Disinformation While Respecting Freedom of Expression (2020).

22 April: The fight for the truth 

Uffe Dreesen, correspondent at TV 2 Denmark, will tell us about the climate for journalists in Moscow in the weeks leading up to the war and immediately after. And how the situation changed dramatically with the Russian “special military operation”. Especially the new law about false information voted through the Duma on the 4th of March made life much more dangerous and difficult for journalists. TV2 Denmark decided that they could not keep covering the war from Moscow, because the new law made it possible for the authorities to punish journalists and ordinary citizens who shared information about the events in Ukraine.

Bio on Uffe Dreesen

Uffe Dreesen has been covering Russia for almost 20 years, traveling back and forth from Denmark. From 2013 to 2020 he was a correspondent at TV 2 Denmark, in Berlin, covering Germany but also Eastern Europe and Russia. Early in 2022, he was sent to Moscow to follow the Ukraine-Russia situation, which eventually ended with the invasion. 

8 April: The misinformation ecosystem in an attention economy

Using the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's recent work on the role of Russia's Google Yandex in channeling ad money to sites pushing misinformation and propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine, Jasper Jackson will explore some of the false narratives emerging around the conflict, and the underlying forces that are helping to drive this latest outbreak of misinformation. 

Bio on Jasper Jackson:

Jasper Jackson is an investigative journalist specialising in technology and media, and is today working as a Technology Editor at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He was previously the assistant media editor of the Guardian and digital editor of the New Statesman. Jackson has spent more than a decade writing about and applying techniques in digital media and technology.

1 April: Beating misinformation will take more than facts

Much of what we call 'misinformation' and 'disinformation' is more nuanced than a simple dichotomy of fact vs fiction. Conspiracy theories and propaganda contain toxic mixes of truths and lies, and are being exacerbated by real world forces like inequality and instability. To protect people from disinformation, we need more than facts - we need a better story.

Bio on Stefan Rollnick:

Stefan is a misinformation and communication strategist with a background in politics and campaigns. A qualified Science Communicator from Imperial College London, Stefan worked in Westminster before developing his expertise as a Misinformation Consultant in his advisory role as a Misinformation Analyst for the Office of the First Minister of Wales.

25 March: When reporting from the war zone becomes a question of life and death

Jeffrey Newton and Brent Renaud have together been reporting from war zones across the world. Last Sunday, 13 March, Brent Renaud was tragically killed while reporting from the war in Ukraine. Jeffrey Newton will tell us how they have together reported from conflicts while ensuring to get the facts right and at times dealing with forces trying to undermine their authority or independence.

Bio on Jeffrey Newton:

Jeffrey Newton spent 14 years as a producer for 60 Minutes, primarily covering war in hot spots around the globe. He was the first senior producer for Vice, HBO’s groundbreaking weekly news magazine. After Vice, Newton was hired as a senior producer by National Geographic to help run its eight-part documentary series Chain of Command, which focused on the US military’s global fight against violent extremism.
Newton has reported from some of the most dangerous hot spots, including Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo. He’s a multiple Emmy winner, multiple Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, and Dupont Award Winner. He has also won awards for war reporting from the Overseas Press Club of America. He has been an adjunct advisor for the Columbia journalism school documentary program for seven years.

18 March: Finding the facts with AI

The need for credible information has never been bigger. Factiverse has been researching and testing automated fact-checking since 2019. In this talk, we will dive into how fact-checking has developed since 2015 and explore the key technology trends in this field. Based on interviews and research, we take a look at how fact-checking can make a difference in particular in times of conflict.

About Maria Amelie and Gaute Kokkvoll:

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.

Gaute Kokkvoll is product manager at Factiverse. He had his own fact-checking start-up in 2015, and has since been working with several start-ups in Norway and internationally, mainly in the field of gamification and building engaging services. Gaute is a strong believer in media literacy and technology to support better thinking and better access to credible information.

11 March: #UkraineFacts: How fact-checkers worldwide are working together to combat disinformation on the Ukraine conflict

Fact-checkers from around the world have debunked more than 1,200 falsehoods about the war in Ukraine since the Russian invasion about two weeks ago. Through the #UkraineFacts collaborative initiative, the fact-checkers are mapping out how misinformation is spreading in many languages and where it has been flagged as misleading.

About Enock Nyariki:

Enock Nyariki is the International Fact-Checking Network’s community and impact manager. He works to empower fact-checkers from around the world who have signed up to IFCN’s principles of nonpartisanship and transparency.

4 March: War in Ukraine: Defending the facts

To start the series was Kristoffer Egeberg, the editor in chief of the independent Norwegian fact-checking newsroom, Faktisk.no.
Fact-checkers and OSINT-organisations from all over the world have gathered in a joint effort to fact check the war in Ukraine. A short brief on how its going, what we see, and how we quickly went from one infodemic to another.
In July 2017, Faktisk.no was launched as the first dedicated fact check organization in Norway. It is the result of a unique cooperation between six of the country’s largest and competing news organizations and broadcasters: Dagbladet, VG, NRK, TV 2, Amedia, and Polaris Media. As part of the founding project group, Kristoffer Egeberg became its first editor in chief. Before this, he was a long time investigative journalist in Dagbladet, and a winner of Norway’s most prestigious journalism award, Skup (2014), and the IR-prize for international reporting (2015).

No recording available.