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Discover the first research results of EDMO BELUX: Executive summaries are out!

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After one year of research and a first scientific workshop (in October 2022)EDMO BELUX is pleased to release the executive summaries of the first wave of scientific reports. As not all the reports are publicly available at this stage, the four executive summaries allow researchers, experts, journalists, media educators and citizens alike to have a quick glance at what the EDMO BELUX researchers have been doing so far on the research side.

EDMO BELUX aims to assess the impact of disinformation campaigns through research and investigative work. The partners in the project collaborate in order to monitor the financial viability of the news media sector in Belgium and Luxembourg, to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the impacts of disinformation on society and democratic processes, and to analyse the effectiveness of platform policies to counter disinformation. In this regard, EDMO BELUX has published its first four scientific reports, which are summed up in the following four executive summaries:

Economic analysis: A framework for measuring news media markets‘ financial viability in relation to disinformation

This research component aims at monitoring the financial viability of the news media sector in Belgium and Luxembourg, and to produce a monitoring matrix incorporating indicators related to advertising and subscription revenues, (in)direct public support and philanthropy.  At this stage, EDMO BELUX researchers (Marlen Komorowski & Ike Picone) present the conceptual building block of this task. It is based on current literature discussions and reports, with the view to develop a matrix model that can be applied to monitor the financial viability of the news media sector.

Read the executive summary here!

Quantitative study: Who is susceptible to (political) disinformation? Evidence from Flanders, Belgium

Which citizens are most susceptible to disinformation that is spread online? In this study, EDMO BELUX researchers (Jonas Lefevere & Trisha Meyer) investigate patterns of susceptibility to disinformation amongst citizens from Flanders, the largest region of Belgium. First, the study considers to what extent citizens’ socio-demographic characteristics and socio-political attitudes help us understand which citizens are more (or less) likely to believe false claims. Second, the study zooms in on the effect of exposure to disinformation online: to what extent does exposure to disinformation online lead citizens to increasingly believe these false claims? The findings indicate that especially citizens who get their information through online channels such as news aggregators tend to have both higher exposure to, and belief in, disinformation. Relatedly, younger citizens tend to attribute greater credibility to disinformation, as do citizens that self-position on the right of the political spectrum. The study also finds strong evidence that those citizens who believe general conspiracy theories, have a high propensity to also fall for specific disinformation campaigns. Moreover, the experimental evidence finds that exposure to social media messages containing disinformation increases citizens’ belief in the disinformation, which is worrisome. The findings also demonstrate that warning messages implemented by social media platforms only partially mitigate the impact of disinformation campaigns.

Read the executive summary here!

Qualitative study: Folk theories of info-democratic disorders in Belgium and Luxembourg – preliminary results from an ongoing qualitative audience study

In this study, EDMO BELUX researchers (Victor Wiard, Geoffroy Patriarche, Marie Dufrasne & Olivier Rasquinet) provide a preliminary analysis of the folk theories of info-democratic disorders in Belgium and Luxembourg. It focuses on how audiences themselves theorise the nexus between information disorders and democratic disorders, and relies on a qualitative methodology based on semi-structured interviews with informants in Belgium and Luxembourg. The final aim of the research is to collect and analyse 30 such interviews. In this first phase, the research team analysed the first ten interviews already done in Belgium, and identified 10 (sub-)folk theories of info-democratic disorders.

Read the executive summary here!

Policy analysis: Monitoring policies at the level of Belgium, Luxembourg and platforms

Finally, the EDMO BELUX research team also covers the policy aspects of fighting disinformation in Belgium and Luxembourg. This part of the research has produced not one but three articles, which are titled:

Read the executive summaries here!