Materials of round table: Fake news and validation of information in social networks, Kyiv, Ukraine, 12 March 2020

The round table was held to present analytical materials of the COMPACT project (http://compact-media.eu/) on approaches and practices of counterfeiting and regulation of online media in EU countries, to present experience and tools of Ukrainian organizations. To discuss, in an open discussion format, the key proposals of the new draft law on media regulation of online media and social networks in Ukraine, as well as the possibility of cooperation with the EU in this area in the context of European integration processes and existing EU grant programs.

The COMPACT project materials are available at:
http://compact-media.eu/ (Deliverables and Events sections)
COMPACT project findings:
Video of the event:
Mykola Kniazhytsky, member of parliament (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy) welcomed participants with his speech. Mr. Kniazhutsky highlighted the challenges that we are facing nowadays, and that the authorities. Ukrainian authorities are faced with the choice of protecting themselves from aggression in a country during war including information war on the one hand. On the other hand, the authorities are always tempted to restrict freedom of expression, to control certain media resources, especially where at times this entails some corruption challenges, and at times it is related to issues of censorship and political competition. Mr. Kniazhytsky also highlighted that when we talk about media regulation, we have to be very careful and understand that media and Internet regulation is essential, but we must be careful. Mykola Kniazhytsky described the examples of the issues with bill on disinformation, as well as examples of the alternative bill that he is a co-author. One of the main questions that was raised is how to combine regulation and freedom of speech, and whether there is a place for self-regulation.


Dr. Lukasz Porwol, Deputy leader at eGovernment Unit, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, Ireland
provided a brief introduction about the COMPACT project and overview of the preliminary results. The objective of the COMPACT project is to increase awareness (including scientific, political, cultural, legal, economic and technical areas) of the latest technological discoveries among key stakeholders in the context of social media and convergence. The project offers analyses and road maps of related initiatives. In addition, extensive research on policies and regulatory frameworks in media and content is being conducted. Dr. Lukasz Porwol highlighted recent finding on digital identity, bots, immersive technologies, microtargeting and social media influencers.

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Dr. Andrey Skolkay, School of Communication and Media, Slovakia presented the COMPACT findings of online media regulations. Dr. Andrey Skolkay provided information on global approaches to social media regulation including soft (indirect, long-term) measures to regulation, measures encouraging/supporting regulation and measures enforcing regulation. He highlighted that European Commission considers to prepare a directive on social media regulation on the second half of 2020 and for this purpose, the EC is looking for suggestion and opinions whether it is needed and how it should look like taking into account that many options of how to regulate social media exist.

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Dr. Evangelia Psychogiopoulou, HellenicFoundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Greece presented the findings of the study on national court rulings on social media. She started by describing the role of courts in social media governance. The presentation of Dr. Evangelia Psychogiopoulou covered the samples of Higher court cases on social media, issue areas in higher court cases, the dimension of fundamental rights, Freedom of political speech, the impact of social media on legacy media regulation, freedom of the press, dimension of public figures.

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Maxim Panchenko, Coordinator of Analytical Department, Internews Ukraine introduced to the audience the Historical myths on Ukraine in RU social media. He presented research of Internews on Russian history-focused propaganda. It has two main pillars: an analysis of the key narratives of Russian historical propaganda about Ukraine, and comments on those narratives from Ukrainian professional historians. The narratives were identified within the analysis of the Russian internet segment, which was carried out with the help of neural networks and other methods of machine learning. Responses of professional historians helped us avoid the trap of responding on propaganda with counter-propaganda, and analyse where exactly Russian messages distort the truth or where they express only partial truth. Among Russian propaganda myths and fake social media messages described in the presentation were: "Ukraine is a bad shadow of Russia", “Ukraine is an artificial project of the West”, «Crimea, Donbass and southeast of Ukraine are Russia», "USSR is a powerful empire, Stalin is a hero", "All Ukrainian nationalists were fascists", "Ukraine forgot about victory over Nazism".

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Ellina Shnurko-Tabakova, Head of Council information safety and cybersecurity NGO, Ukraine presented Hybrid threat decomposition methodology - Big Data analysis by attackindex.com. She described the methodology of Attack Index including: threats Identification and structuration; semantic core of threats; tracking of object fields; key queries; ratings and regulations; clustering of information objects; methods of forecasting and decision making. The role of the target groups of each hybrid impact, tools and context is the basis of understanding in the threat classification. Decomposing threats to the semantic core which is underlies key requests to monitoring systems is a step-by-step process for tracking the information environment. Threat ratings and systems for monitoring statistical and sociological indicators lead to effective counteraction against planned manipulations.

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Anastasiia Shyrina, Founder of HelpSMI, Ukraine presented the role of online platform HelpSMI in democracy building, promotion of freedom of speech and expression in Ukraine, experience in counteracting fakes. Ms. Shyrina introduced the audience to HelpSMI - e-platform for communication between Ukrainian journalists and experts. HelpSMI is used by over 1000 Ukrainian journalists. Anastasiya Shyrina explained how free and technologically advanced online communication between journalists and the expert community benefits the quality of media materials, actors of civil society, representatives of academia and local businesses, as well as fledgling Ukrainian democracy as a whole. Anastasiya provided a brief overview of the platform's goals and current results, showing participants examples of success stories that relate to corruption, human rights protection and regional development. Mrs. Shyrina firmly believes that seamless exchange of knowledge and information between platform users can make local journalism stronger, more professional and more fair. She also presented examples of how HelpSMI experts help shape international public opinion about Ukraine through providing commentary for top foreign informational agencies.

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Yuliya Krylova-Grek, Scientist of G.S. Kostyuk Institute of Psychology of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Ukraine presented material on media literacy as a psychological “vaccine“ against manipulation. She shared with participants the examples of training and resources for media literacy. The participants discussed the role of media literacy and agreed that it is important in fighting disinformation.

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Halyna Pastukh, Deputy Director, TEXTY, Ukraine presented the experience of TEXTY organization in developing innovative tools for the detection of the manipulative and disinformation content in Ukrainian media landscape.

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The second part of the round table was held in the form of free discussion with the participation of Mykyta Poturaiev, member of parliament (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Information Policy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy. The participants discussed how to take into account COMPACT materials in the formulation of a regulatory policy in the field of media in Ukraine and how Ukraine will fulfil its obligations in the field of media within the framework of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and what could be the next prospects for the development of cooperation with the EU

Index of legal on-line regulation in Ukraine: methodology and first findings were presented by Vitaliy Moroz, Head of New Media Department - Internews Ukraine. NGO “Internews Ukraine” in cooperation with media lawyers developed Internet Regulation Index as a tool to monitor monitor and oversee Internet regulation in Ukraine, which will empower civil society advocacy for more efficient Internet law. The Index could help to measure the quality of suggested regulations according to set criteria, based on human rights and media freedom approaches. NGO “Internews Ukraine” invited the experts to evaluated draft laws according to the Terms of Reference (TOR). The first two studies are aimed at some of the most talked about draft laws – on media and on disinformation.

 

About COMPACT: COMPACT aims to increase awareness of the latest technological discoveries in the context of social media and content convergence as well as to provide research on and experience-exchange of policy and regulation strategies in order to stimulate a debate on the desirable future policies and frameworks. It is a Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action (CSA) under grant number 762128. This symposium is organised by the NGO Agency of European Innovations as the local partner with support from COMPACT project partners.