The Center for the Study of Democracy organisfed an event on February 23 to discuss Building Resilience to Foreign Authoritarian Disinformation in Southeast Europe.

One of the key presentations was lectured by Vasil Shivachev from Identrics, in which he talked about technologies used to detect and fight disinformation. The event was attended by policymakers, media professionals, civil society experts, and technology companies such as Identrics, from Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece.

Disinformation is one of the most pressing issues in today’s media culture. The spread of disinformation can cause many problems, such as polarisation, threatening democracy, and even putting the security and health of citisens at risk.

In recent years, large-scale disinformation has become a problem in Southeast Europe, a region which has become more vulnerable to both disinformation and misinformation. Many countries in the region face this problem due to the lack of technological and institutional capacity to detect such threats. 

Building resilience to foreign authoritarian disinformation in Southeast Europe

Disinformation and misinformation are problematic in all societies, but some regions experience more large-scale disinformation than others. In recent years, elaborate disinformation campaigns have been a part of Eastern Europe’s media environment.

That is why there are more and more discussions on how professionals and media consumers can address the disinformation issue. During the Building of Resilience to Foreign Authoritarian Disinformation in Southeast Europe, media professionals, tech companies, and policymakers discussed ways governments and the public can prevent and even stop the spread of disinformation. 

Some key takeaways from the event are:

  • It is difficult to mitigate disinformation when fake news are already published and open to the public
  • Governments should be proactive in implementing frameworks to tackle disinformation
  • There should be strategic communication strategies to counter disinformation
  • The media industry should gain public trust 
  • The public prefers to check for alternative information, making it more susceptible to misinformation
  • Tech companies can help combat disinformation by investing in tools that can detect fake news

Identrics’ hate speech detect model

Vasil Shivachev, COO of Identrics, made a presentation on hate speech detection models – which are effective across multiple different types of media, incl. in comment sections of online media.

Identrics uses a human-in-the-loop hate speech detection model – software checks comments online, flags ones that may contain hate speech, and then the comments are sent to an analyst for moderation. One of the key benefits of Identrics’ model is that it constantly learns. The more comments it reviews, the more it learns. 

Detecting hate speech in comments is important because a lot of media users read comments to learn about other people’s opinions, to share their own, or to get more information on a story.

According to a study by the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas, 77.9% of readers have read comments at some point in their lives, and more than 18% of readers spend more time with comments.

Furthermore, disinformation can also be spread by comments online. By sharing false information on issues, social media users can misdirect other users and cause confusion, polarisation, or promote discrimination. 

Working together against disinformation

Institutions, businesses, and the media have a responsibility to combat disinformation and the spread of fake news. Such responsibility may come in the form of improving journalistic methods, promoting media literacy, and investing in technology that can detect fake news. Taking proactive steps can help weaken the spread of disinformation and create a safer environment for democracy.

Contact Identrics today and learn how our AI models can help combat disinformation and promote a more informed society.