EU research about Disinformation and FIMI

EU research about Disinformation and FIMI

NOTIONES Working Groups and Innovation Monitoring activities tackled Disinformation and FIMI (Foreign Influence and Information Manipulation) in the last months. NOTIONES investigated the EC-funded research around these topics in the last decade. This article presents the results.

Horizon 2020 mobilised significant resources in addressing information veracity for social media and media. The Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis (SOMA) along with other EU-funded projects (PROVENANCE, SocialTruth, EUNOMIA, WeVerify) provided a springboard for the social media sector to steer an understanding of its dynamics and the relationship between social media and other sectors. Other projects adjusted their activities and included coronavirus-related disinformation in scope, such as Co-Inform, QUEST and TRESCA.

The aim of the Horizon2020 funded FANDANGO project is to aggregate and verify different typologies of news data, media sources, social media, open data, so as to detect fake news and provide a more efficient and verified communication for all European citizens. Projects MISTRUST and RADICALISATION also contributed to the fight of propaganda, disinformation campaigns and misinformation.

The European Research Council (ERC) also supports theoretical investigations like those carried out by projects COMPROP, DEBUNKER, and the ongoing project FARE. The ERC also supported proof of concept projects like GoodNews, which applied deep learning technology for the detection of fake news.

The European Innovation Council supported companies in developing semi-automated fake-news detection systems through actions like TRUTHCHECK and NEWTRAL. It also organized the #EUvsVirus Hackathon and the “Matchathon” with challenges on the mitigating fake news spreading.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) developed a machine-learning program, called Misinfo Classifier, to identify patterns in the language, notably the “shrillness” of language, and identify whether something might be fake news or not.

The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) is a project that supports the independent community working to combat disinformation.

In Horizon Europe, the current research and innovation framework programme, a variety of projects was funded in the area of disinformation fighting: AI4TRUST, TITAN,, FERMI, VIGILANT, DisAI, and FARE_AUDIT. In the calls for proposals for 2023, there was a specific call about “Through AI from Disinformation to Trust” but the winners are not known yet.

The DG CNECT (Directorate-General Communications NEtworks, Content and Technology) funded the NODES project that will create the first European Narrative Observatory based on the analysis of narratives to tackle disinformation within the public sphere working in four languages (English, French, Spanish and Polish) and focusing on Climate Change, Migration and Covid-19.

In 2022 the European Commission published a call for proposal titled “Cyber and information warfare toolbox” within the European Defence Fund with the specific objective of countering threats posed by new and evolving cyber and hybrid tools (e.g., disinformation, deep fakes) which are fully part of Cyber and Information Warfare. The call was won by a consortium led by Leonardo (Italy) with a total estimated costs of more than 41 million euros.

In this frame, the European Media and Information Fund (EMIF) launched new calls for proposals to fight disinformation in 2023.

Keywords: FIMI, disinformation, hybrid threats, EU research

Author(s): Giulia VENTURI, Zanasi & Partners (Z&P)