Disinformation research by MedDMO aims to assess the impact of disinformation in Malta, Greece, and Cyprus by examining the core technical, social, legal, and ethical factors brought about by disinformation. It also aims to combat misinformation through establishing stronger policies and best practices and producing training material, tools, and methodologies for the stakeholders. The research is intended to identify and overcome what hampers fact-checkers, national authorities, and citizens from countering disinformation.
The main pillars of MedDMO disinformation research are:
1. Detecting, fact-checking, and disclosing disinformation content: MedDMO creates a monitoring mechanism in the three countries’ most popular media and information sources (digital or printed), detects potential misinformation campaigns, and conducts fact-checking. Additionally, MedDMO indexes in themed categories the detected misinformation. This facilitates dissemination.
2. Analyzing campaign dynamics: The MedDMO partners use algorithms and state-of-the-art graph analysis methods to analyze the identified disinformation campaigns, looking for common features that lead to the fast-spreading and virality of misinformation.
3. Assessing the disinformation impact on the society and democratic processes: MedDMO works to identify the gaps in media literacy in the three countries through the study of:
- Recent research reports
- An in-depth literature review
- Case studies of disinformation
- Recent country reports
- Online surveys
- Expert interviews
- Focus groups.
4. Monitoring online platforms practices: MedDMO monitors and reports on the most influential online platform disinformation practices. This helps to map the general landscape of disinformation in the three countries. These reports can help the individual national authorities in their reporting to ERGA (European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services). It also helps to support the media stakeholders in activities that limit the impact of disinformation on the general public.
5. Assessing the sector’s financial viability: This includes mapping public support measures taken by the three countries’ governments to counter disinformation. This data is gathered through publicly available financial reports, policy documents, etc.
6. Monitoring and assessing the media plurality: MedDMO monitors and assesses the plurality and diversity of the news media in the three countries. Reported disinformation cases need to be analysed qualitatively in the context of the overall political and social developments, laws and policies. A comparative analysis of media content is also carried out.
7. Community Building: MedDMO uses the partners’ existing connections with academic and media organizations in the three countries to build a community that will is engaged in:
- investigating potential disinformation,
- countering active disinformation campaigns,
- promoting media literacy, and
- contributing to creating the code of best practices to tackle misinformation.
8. Producing training material: MedDMO identifies each country’s specific media literacy needs and gaps, designs custom training material, and organizes media literacy events and activities that meet their particular needs. The training material is tailor-made for different audiences at different levels and in different formats. Learning material can take the form of videos, interactive training, online tutorials, etc. The instruction based on the findings of the MedDMO project trains fact-checkers and audiences on how to identify, address, and tackle misinformation. It also presents basic and up-to-date fact-checking techniques, tools and technologies.