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Event: USL-B ENGAGE research seminar with Trisha Meyer and Grégoire Lits (26 October 2021)

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About the Engage seminar

The Engage seminar aims to support and extend the work of its members through exchanges and meetings open to all interested parties. Based on the contributions of researchers, most of whom come from outside the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, the aim is to feed the center’s reflections by broadening them to other research horizons. The themes addressed are therefore varied while remaining within the center’s research areas. Each session consists of one or two presentations related to the chosen theme, which we extend through discussions in a context that we hope is both stimulating and benevolent. A lunch and/or drink conclude the session if the health conditions allow it.

Grégoire Lits: Informational vulnerability, news avoidance and informational bulimia as dimensions of the Covid-19 infodemic in French-speaking Belgium

This presentation focused on the interest of the notion of informational vulnerability in the context of research on misinformation and disinformation. The discussion of the concept and the underlying research approach was supported by the presentation of the results of a multi-wave quantitative survey about, anxiety, news consumption and trust in information sources conducted during the first year of the Covid-19 crisis in French-speaking Belgium, as well as by the presentation of the preliminary results of a qualitative survey conducted among people with an information vulnerability profile.

Grégoire Lits is an Assistant professor in political and media sociology at the UCLouvain School of Communication and Journalism, and member of the Observatoire de recherche sur les médias et le journalisme (ORM).

Trisha Meyer: Platform (un)accountability. Reviewing platform responses to the global disinfodemic

This talk focused on content and account moderation practices of social media platforms as a means to address disinformation. Theoretically, it discussed the role of social media platforms as spaces for political speech, the distinction between regulation of/through technology and the challenges of self/co-regulation. Empirically, it reviewed Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter’s responses to COVID-19 and US elections-related disinformation in 2020, furthering our understanding of often opaque moderation practices. In 2020, the editorial role of online platforms became visible as never before. Their ability to react quickly is both encouraging and worrying, if not accompanied by a known hierarchy of principles and stringent transparency and review measures.

Trisha Meyer is an Assistant Professor in Digital Governance and Participation at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a Professorial Fellow at the United Nations University CRIS in Bruges. Trisha leads the Research Centre on Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation at VUB Brussels School of Governance.