Intro to this blog

This blog contains mostly work-related things – media stuff that is.

By clicking onto the tabs above in the navigation, you can find out more about what I got/get up to work-wise, presentations I gave, things I published plus the usual disclaimer. More in a static way.

Here, I publish whatever comes to my mind on top of everything else, whenever I feel like it and have time.

Please be aware though that my main (full-time) job is at Deutsche Welle in the Research and Cooperation Projects Unit. Some (or rather a lot) of the stuff included here is somehow related to or part of that engagement.

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Selection of reading material on social media and news, disinformation, verification and fact-checking

This list is nothing but a selection. It includes publications that deal with various aspects of social media and news, covering a wide range such as platforms, distribution strategies, production issues, trauma, trends, the misinformation / disinformation ecosystem, verification, OSINT and more. The focus lies on disinformation and its detection, verification and fact-checking. The list is nowhere near complete, but intended as a starting point into a topic about which much has been written in the recent past. More surely is to come, and lots is missing :).

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Three interviews, one topic: AI and disinformation / verification

At the International Journalism Festival in Perugia that ran from 19-23 April 2023 I interviewed three media specialists with different expertise and work focus. I wanted to find out from them how they think recent advancements in (generative) Artificial Intelligence will impact the disinformation and fact-checking / verification sphere. Hear and see what Nic Newman (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), Maaarten Schenk (Lead Stories) and Felix Simon (Oxford Internet Institute) had to say on the matter.

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Study: detecting gruesome imagery with AI to mitigate trauma

With colleagues of the MeVer team at CERTH-ITI, I am currently (February 2023) conducting a study on detecting gruesome imagery with the help of Artificial Intelligence. One aim: to reduce negative impact on those who have to view such digital content (e.g. journalists, human rights investigators) and spare them negative psychological consequences.

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At the European Parliament: United against Disinformation

On 12 October 2022 Eva Kaili, Vice President of the European Parliament, invited an interested audience to a session hosted by her in Brussels at the Parliament under the motto “United Against Disinformation: A Truly European Response.” The event was coordinated by her team together with EDMO, the European Digital Media Observatory, which is funded by the European Commission and serves as one of the main European pillars in the fight against disinformation. I had the honour to participate in the session as one of the speakers. I did so in my role as working for Deutsche Welle’s Research and Cooperation Projects as well as being Advisory Board Chairman of CEDMO and a member of the EDMO Advisory Board.

At the European Parliament, hosted by VP Eva Kaili

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Recap: CEDMO 2022 Conference “Europe Tackles Information Chaos” – videos of all sessions available

talk talk

The CEDMO International Conference (#CIC2022) is over. It was a big success. Over 1.5 days, from 22-23 September 2022, experts and stakeholders from various sectors spoke about a wide range of topics that all deal with information disorder and ways to counter disinformation. The conference, organized by the CEDMO project under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the European Union, was attended by about 200 people physically. More joined online.

If you did not get a chance to attend yourself, or want to revisit some of the session, you can do so on-demand and online. Below (just a few clicks away), you find the links to the respective sessions.

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Preview: CEDMO International Conference (#CIC2022) “Europe Tackles Information Chaos” in Prague

From 22-23 September 2022, I will attend and speak at the CEDMO International Conference (#CIC2022) “Europe Tackles Information Chaos”. Being the Chair of the CEDMO Advisory Board, this is a great honour and something I look very much forward to. About the event and my involvement – more below.

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Report: 10 Recommendations by the Taskforce on Disinformation and the War in Ukraine

On 3 March 2022 the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), where I serve as an Advisory Board member, established a so-called Taskforce on Disinformation and the War in Ukraine. I had the honor to be involved as an active participant in the task force and work with a group of distinguished experts from the fields of academia, journalism, media and civil society. Involvement in the activity was done in participants’ personal capacity.

The group, chaired by Dr. Claire Wardle, met on a weekly basis to discuss developments and trends in relation to disinformation in the context of the war in Ukraine. We also looked at the topic more widely.

In addition to individual investigations and blog posts (all available on the EDMO website) the task force members wrote and published a final report at the end of June 2022 entitled 10 Recommendations by the Taskforce on Disinformation and the War in Ukraine. The report lists 10 recommendations for policy makers, technology companies, as well as newsrooms and civil society related to the countering of disinformation. It is based on observations, research activities and discussions over the three months the task force was active.

10 recommendations outlined and published: far fewer pages than depicted here

While the task force has wrapped up its work for the time being with the final report, the topic remains of vital importance and requires continued attention.

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Documenting and Preserving Digital Evidence from War and Conflict

The war in Ukraine, resulting from the invasion of Russian troops, has been raging since 24 February 2022. Due to the lack of journalists and independent reporters on location in Ukraine, a lot of the information on which third party assessments of the situation are based comes from material shared on social networks. A key challenge in this context: to gain access to this data and then check the veracity and validity of such content.

Journalists, fact-checkers, human rights organisations as well as military / security personnel have been working overtime to get an idea of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine since the war started. In order to fact-check material (and thereafter store / archive it), a pre-condition, however, is that this material is available. This is where respective social media platforms come in.

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Mental well-being of investigators on the digital frontline

There is a lot of disturbing and potentially traumatizing digital material coming out of Ukraine, especially in the form of images and videos.

This article looks at ways to protect journalists from secondary trauma and gives some tips and advice designed to limit negative consequences on your mental well-being when dealing with gruesome material on digital devices.

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Distressing digital content on social networks in times of war – and guarding your mental health

There is a lot of harrowing audiovisual content circulating on social networks – not only while there is a war raging in Ukraine. Viewing it can have serious negative impacts on mental health and cause secondary trauma. This article takes a closer look, points to potential risks and provides some basic advice.

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