A new Dublin-based hub is set to start work tackling disinformation campaigns in Ireland, bringing together experts in artificial intelligence, disinformation and media literacy.
The hub, which is based at Dublin City University, is part of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO). As part of its work, it is aiming to strengthen the detection and analysis of disinformation campaigns in Ireland, improve public awareness, and designing effective responses was launched today.
The EU-funded hub is one of eight chosen by the European Commission to help expand the work of EDMO.
"The hub aims to maximise the great work already being done to counter disinformation in Ireland while providing a means to collaborate with partners across Europe. The value of that is evident now amid the Russian war on Ukraine, " said Dr Eileen Culloty, coordinator of the project. "EDMO has published a regularly updated list of fact-checks about the war and established a taskforce to coordinate responses."
The partners supporting the hub include DCU, which brings expertise in disinformation and media literacy; Newswhip, which offers technological resources for detecting content and predicting virality; the University of Sheffield’s artificial intelligence for analysing disinformation and supporting fact-checkers; and online publisher the Journal, which has an experienced fact-checking team.
"We're thrilled to be applying our technology and expertise to this great initiative from EDMO, and to be able to bring our experience from working with academia and NGOs around the world to this partnership," said Dervilla Mullan, chief product officer of NewsWhip.
“Our real-time monitoring of web and social content, coupled with the specialist expertise of the other partners, will shed much needed light on this critical societal issue.”
The new hub comes at a time when disinformation is spreading globally. According to Deloitte Ireland's latest Digital Consumer Trends report, 57 per cent of people in Ireland struggle to tell the difference between real news and fake news, although 85 per cent feel fake news is a problem. Some 42 per cent said they had stopped using at least one social media platform in the past year.
False claims and misattributed footage have spread online as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has continued. Social networks such as Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram have been working to identify disinformation networks, with the company already shutting down a pro-Russian network of accounts, pages and groups using fake identities.