Spotting Disinformation: A practical workshop

  • There are many online open-source tools that can help you discern if what you are reading or seeing is true or not. You just need to know what tools to look for.
  • Everyone can become a “digital Sherlock” and train themselves to spot suspicious information and questionable sources. This is why education on digital and media literacy is important in countering disinformation.
  • This topic has never been more relevant with so much disinformation being distributed on social media surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations.

On 2 March 2022 YPFP Brussels hosted an online workshop with Mr. Lukas Andriukaitis, the Associate Director at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). The DFRLab works to identify, expose, and explain disinformation by using open-source research and whose various programmes and training are teaching people digital resilience. The discussion was moderated by the Deputy Director of the Security and Defence Program at YPFP Brussels, Marija Sulce.

The event opened with Mr. Andriukaitis giving an overview of how the DFRLab is working to expose disinformation and what are some of the open-source tools anyone can use to verify the accuracy of information. He presented many different tools that can help facilitate background research, reverse image search, geolocate, verify videos, and analyse images for manipulation. Then, the audience was given an exercise to geolocate two images and find their origin using some of the tools presented previously. This practical approach helped to engage the audience in the event more and brought the abstract conversation to reality by showing how people can themselves carry out “digital forensics”.

The event closed with a conversation on how important it is to improve societal digital resilience if we want to be able to fight the huge amounts of dis/misinformation we are faced with online every day. Never has this been more important than now that war has again erupted in Europe after decades of peace. The war is not only being fought on Ukrainian land, it is also being actively fought online through various information outlets, trying to influence people’s feelings and opinions about the conflict. It is crucial for our governments as well as all of us individually to work to counter the false narratives coming out of Russia and focus on the facts and reality of the conflict and history.

Written by Marija Sulce, Security & Defence Deputy Director, YPFP Brussels