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DisinfoCheck Roundup
November 2022

Edito

Welcome to the first edition of the EDMO BELUX newsletter, the DisinfoCheck Roundup. This quarterly newsletter aims to bring together relevant studies, reports and resources about disinformation in Belgium and Luxembourg. It is available in all the languages our hub covers (French, Dutch, German, Luxembourgish and English).

Our countries are still at risk of disinformation. A recent study from the Media Pluralism Monitor classified that Luxembourg was on a high risk of online disinformation. In Belgium, the CrossOver project highlighted how YouTube algorithms were pushing China’s narrative about XinJiang, silencing the nature of atrocities happening there.

Facing this threat, the work of EDMO BELUX is crucial to support initiatives and journalists in exchanging good practices and knowledge about the phenomenon, and the general public to be trained and warned about disinformation spreading. 

We envision our work as the work of a community. We look forward to meeting you in Luxembourg at our EDMO BELUX Cross-Community Network Exchange on 25 November. And don't be shy: send us relevant updates or resources that you think would be helpful for other members of the hub. “Sharing is caring” is definitely one of our mottos.

Trisha Meyer, Professor in Digital Governance and Participation, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Centre on Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation and principal investigator of the EDMO BELUX project.

Latest EDMO BELUX news

  • The disinformative ecosystem: Link sharing practices on Telegram as evidence of cross-platform amplification. On 9 November, we've released our latest research that focuses on understanding the information-sharing habits of 30 Dutch-speaking Telegram far-right and conspiracy communities to gain insight into the broader media sphere to which they pertain and on which they feed. Findings show that disinformation is an ecosystem of cross-platform interaction and contamination where mainstream and alternative media coexist. You can find the research here.
  • First EDMO BELUX scientific workshop. EDMO BELUX held its first scientific workshop on the "Insights on the impact of disinformation from multiple perspectives" on 28 October. It was the chance for the hub's researchers to present their first reports after one year of research. The EDMO BELUX presentations and discussions were preceded by a keynote presentation by Professor Divina Frau-Meigs (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, UNESCO chair Savoir-devenir and President of the Savoir-Devenir association). Event materials, including executive summaries, will shortly be available here.
  • Media Literacy. EDMO Belux’ Media Literacy partners, Mediawijs and Média Animation, participated in the first “Wednesday Webinars on Digital & Media Literacy in Europe”. In their presentation they tried to answer the question “What educational materials do teachers share / want?” You can find the recordings and a short recap here
  • Room for improvement. Analyzing redress policy on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. This article reviews how users can appeal (in)action taken against content and/or accounts on four major social media platforms. It provides policy advice in the context of the next steps of the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), in particular Article 17 concerning internal complaint handling and redress mechanisms.
  • Disinformation reporting. Have you spotted a case of suspected online disinformation? The rapid alert form is a tool that you can use to report to our EDMO BELUX team any suspected case of disinformation you might have seen online! 

Our fact-checkers' corner 

Since  the beginning of our project, our fact-checkers partners, AFP, RTBF and RTL Luxembourg, have published 363 fact-checks across the five languages covered by EDMO BELUX

In this section, we highlight the recent top fact-check (in number of views) for each language. Visit our website to discover the other available fact-checks

 

Did you check our top fact-checks?

Fact-Checked by RTL Lëtzebuerg (in English): Fact Check: Do electric cars catch fire more often than combustion engine cars?

Every now and again, a news story about an electric vehicle catching fire is published. Underneath the article, you are almost certain to find at least one comment along the lines of “another electric vehicle…”. But are these vehicles really more likely to catch fire than cars with internal combustion engines?
read more >>
Fact-Checked by Clemence OVEREEM, Jan RUSSEZKI, AFP Duitsland (in Dutch): The Ukrainian military has not currently introduced conscription for women

Since mid-June 2022, thousands of social media users have shared articles in multiple languages claiming that the Ukrainian military is now mandating all combative women to join the military. An alleged document from the Kiev government is cited as evidence. However, the Ukrainian authorities deny the existence of conscription for women and the authenticity of the circulating document – which contains errors. Ukraine currently only has conscription for men.
read more >>
Fact-Checked by RTL Lëtzebuerg (in Luxembourgish): Does Luxembourg "benefit" from the European budget?

Does Luxembourg receive much more money from the European budget than it contributes? It is a criticism that has been around for a long time: the rich Luxembourg should receive too much money from the EU budget; much more than it adds to it. In short: Luxembourg would be a "big profiteer". Even if the numbers seem to confirm this at first glance, Luxembourg does not necessarily pocket this European money. 
read more >>
Fact-Checked by RTBF (in French): Labello Challenge: the concern around the new TikTok challenge for young people should be put into perspective

In recent days, many Belgian and French media have warned of the “dangerousness” of the “Labello Challenge” or “Game of the Labello” circulating on TikTok. The new challenge is to put balm on your mouth or cut a piece of it as soon as you have a blues. Once the tube is finished, the young “must end his life”.
read more >>
Fact-Checked by Feliks TODTMANN, AFP Deutschland (in German): Annalena Baerbock did not say that Germany would take in up to ten million refugees from Ukraine

At the end of March, hundreds of Facebook users shared a video that gave the impression that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had said in a speech that Germany would take in eight to ten million refugees from Ukraine. However, the video only shows an excerpt of Baerbock's speech. In fact, Baerbock's statements referred to the whole of Europe.
read more >>

Did you know? 

  • Doppelganger. EU DisinfoLab exposed end of September a Russia-based influence network that has been operating in Europe since at least May 2022. The Doppelganger campaign uses multiple “clones” of authentic media and targets users with fake articles, videos and polls. To do so, the malicious actors behind the operation bought dozens of Internet domain names similar to the ones of authentic media and copied their designs (in English).
  • Disinformation on Donbass is a Google autocomplete away. The recent CrossOver investigation demonstrates how French speaking Belgians were hinted at searching for dubious sources when looking up the word "Donbass" in the Google search bar (in English).
  • Trends Report. The first BENEDMO trends report, based on the outcomes and backgrounds of fact-checks published by the hub's partners, came out in October, with a focus on the war in Ukraine (in Dutch).
  • Geolocation and fact-checking. A short video prepared by AFP fact-checkers explains how geolocation has been a crucial part of fact-checkers and journalists' work, and the steps to identify the news location. Learn the basics via this video (in English). 
  • How to teach about disinformation? Mediawijs developed this article unveiling 6 tips about how to teach about disinformation. It is supported by this short video (in Dutch with English subtitles). 
  • "Happy Birthday for Vladimir Putin from Belgium". This tweet (in English) looks into the deleted TikTok-video on which a group of Russian speaking people dressed in a military uniform and weapons in hands send their greetings from Belgium to Vladimir Putin for his birthday.

Events & Announcements

Publications 

  • Disinformation networks: A quali-quantitative investigation of antagonistic Dutch-speaking Telegram channelsResearch conducted by EDMO BELUX partner Tom Willaert and colleagues (in English).
  • Deep State Phobia. Narrative Convergence in Coronavirus Conspiracism on Instagram. Research conducted by M. Tuters & T. Willaert (in English).
VISIT OUR WEBSITE VISIT OUR WEBSITE
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The DisinfoCheck Roundup is available in DutchFrench and German!
Any questions, remarks or feedback? Send an email to [email protected].
This project has received funding from the European Union under Grant Agreement number INEA/CEF/ICT/A2020/2394296. This website reflects the views only of the independent Consortium, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.

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EDMO BELUX is a cross-community, multilingual collaboration between Vrije Universiteit BrusselUniversité Saint-Louis – BruxellesMediawijs, Média AnimationEU DisinfoLabAgence France-PresseRTBF, RTL Luxembourg and Athens Technology Center.