Disinformation vs Democracy

The event was held on September 19, at 18H, in Brussels, organized by Harold Tor. We will talk about “Disinformation vs Democracy”, with DANIEL FRITZ.

Daniel Fritz is senior expert in disinformation (@DanielFritzEU).

We would like to thank Daniel Fritz for introducing the topic and debating with the participants of Beers&Politics EU.

Here is a summary of the information discussed on the EU’s efforts to combat disinformation, published by the EEAS:

For as long as people have tried to manipulate the information environment through  disinformation and other tactics, people have tried to detect and counter it  Analysis of foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI), including disinformation has been conducted by individuals, researchers, civil society organisations and governments  More recently, social media platforms and online service providers have had to step up their work to protect their platforms from such manipulation  The challenge is global, complex and ever evolving  To protect universal values, democracy, freedoms and societies, a diverse range of actors has emerged who try to detect, understand and respond – the defender community.

Russia’s strategic and coordinated use of FIMI in its war of aggression against Ukraine focussed the attention of the defender community, and saw an unprecedented effort to use open-source intelligence to expose Russia’s efforts to manipulate global discourse and opinion. It has also underlined how important cooperation between these stakeholders is; a comprehensive, timely and shared understanding of the threat can lead to effective action denying FIMI its intended effect. This work to collect evidence, to understand the mechanics behind FIMI and share insights forms the basis for effective and appropriate responses taken by every FIMI defender in civil society, private industry and governments.

Whilst sharing insights contributed significantly to our collective understanding of and resilience to FIMI, both the scope and richness of these insights have grown alongside the threat. How can we thus aggregate and share complex insights timely and at scale to create a common understanding and formulate a collective, systematic response to the problem?

The EEAS has continued to raise awareness of FIMI threats through its public reporting, via the EUvsDisinfo website as well as dedicated reports, such as the public reports on COVID-19 disinformation  Under the leadership of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell, the EEAS has built on these experiences and continued to sharpen its capabilities to identify, analyse and assess FIMI in order to facilitate more targeted and effective responses to FIMI  This report on FIMI threats proposes a conceptual foundation to tackle this challenge to fully realise a whole-of-society response to FIMI including disinformation. Independent of the FIMI actor, language, or location of the threat activity, this framework can accommodate all relevant insights, deliver them to FIMI defenders community and enable a wide array of countermeasures based on our collective observations.

As such, the report responds to the call by the 2020 European Democracy Action Plan to propose a “Common Framework and Methodology to systematically collect evidence on FIMI incidents” and can serve as orientation to deliver on the 2022 Strategic Compass for Security and Defence. It sets out to “create an appropriate mechanism to systematically collect data on incidents [of Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference], facilitated by a dedicated Data Space.” Such a Data Space aims to “strengthen our ability to detect, analyse and respond to the threat, including by imposing costs on perpetrators.”

*The above text is published in the “1st EEAS Report on Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference Threats – Towards a framework for networked defence”, published in February 2023

Next Tuesday, September 19, at 18H, a new B&P meeting will take place in Brussels, organized by
Harold Tor. We will talk about “Disinformation vs Democracy”, with DANIEL FRITZ.

Daniel Fritz is senior expert in disinformation (@DanielFritzEU)

We’ll see you at Brewdog Brussels (Putterie 20, Bruxelles). Doors open at 17:30