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Misinformation COVID19

Virtual course: malicious use of social media by terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups during the COVID-19 pandemic

Freetown, Sierra Leone -

 

On 9 December 2020, UNICRI will held a specialized virtual course aimed at analysing how violent non-state actors, including terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups, are maliciously using social media during COVID-19 to spread misinformation and disinformation.

These actors have created and amplified misleading content on a large-scale by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the social media ecosystem and by manipulating people through conspiracy narratives and fake news.

The course, organized thanks to the support of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Initiative and by Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, will describe how terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to expand their activities and jeopardize the efficacy and credibility of governments’ response measures.

In particular, the course will address the following questions:

  • Who are the violent non-state actors that are spreading disinformation?
  • What are their strategic objectives and targets?
  • What type of messages are spreading?
  • What can be the effect of disinformation?
  • What can be the possible countermeasures?

The course is designed to assist countries to improve their knowledge and awareness about the risk posed by violent non-state actors during COVID-19.

Agenda

 

First Part: The Threat

09.00 – 09.10

Introduction

09.10 – 09.30

Malicious use of social media

Mr. Francesco Marelli, Head of Unit, UNICRI

09.30 – 09.50

Case study 1: Groups associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh) and Al-Qaida

Ms. Carlotta Zenere, Associate Experts, UNICRI

09.50 – 10.10

Case study 2: Right-wing extremist groups

Mr. Francesco Marelli, Head of Unit, UNICRI

Ms. Mariana Diaz Garcia, Programme Assistant, UNICRI

10.10 – 10.30

Case study 3: Organized crime groups

Ms. Mariana Diaz Garcia, Programme Assistant, UNICRI

10.30 – 11.00

Questions & Answers

Second Part: The Response

11.20 – 11.40

The role of social media in preventing and countering violent extremism: the case-study of Mali

Ms. Elena Dal Santo, Associate Programme Officer, UNICRI

11.40 – 12.00

The role of social media in preventing and countering misinformation and disinformation on COVID-19

Associate Professor André Khoury from Saint Joseph University Beirut, Lebanon

12.00 – 12.20

Use journalism to fight unreliable news

Ms. Anna-Sophie Harling, Europe Managing Director, NewsGuard Technologies

12.20 – 12.50

Questions & Answers

12.50 – 13.00

Conclusions

 

Photo: @Martin Sanchez
 

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