EUNOMIA’s PIA+ & user-engagement workshop, Vienna-February 2020

June 30th, 2020 by

EUNOMIA held a Privacy Impact Assessment + (PIA+) and user-engagement workshop in Vienna (12th February 2020) as part of our co-design activities. That means putting the user always in the centre of the toolkit’s development. Therefore, in the workshop participants had the chance to use and experience the first EUNOMIA prototype. Through hands-on sessions, the aim was to explore users’ insights on the toolkit, and understand their needs and concerns feeding into its further development.

The end-users’ panel included three average social media users and four traditional media journalists. There were also invited external experts to deepen the discussions, including a senior researcher in applied ethics, a senior academic in surveillance, and a software developer and product manager expert.

EUNOMIA aims to develop a decentralised toolkit for assisting social media users to practice information hygiene routine and protect their network against misinformation.  

The workshop ran for a full day and was designed following the principles of co-design method, ensuring the user-centric approach of EUNOMIA. The first session included activities such as quizzes around misinformation and the challenges of recognising false news on social media. There were vivid discussions around the indicators of trustworthiness: participants ranked which of them consider the most important and why. These discussions confirmed the prior results stemming from desk-based research, interviews and surveys and will feed into the development of further indicators in the toolkit.  

In the second session, the first prototype of the EUNOMIA toolkit was introduced and participants could already sign up and use it during the workshop. The participants discussed the EUNOMIA toolkit and the different features included. They were asked of how/if they would make use of it and what extra features they would like to see.The participants welcomed the EUNOMIA tools underlying the potential good use of content trustworthiness vote and providing valuable insights on the further development of a user-friendlier interface. The direct engagement of consortium partners with the participants was very fruitful as they could directly discuss the needs of social media users and how the toolkit can be improved.

EUNOMIA adopts a privacy-first approach and for this reason the workshop dedicated a long session to identify potential ethical and societal concerns. The workshop participants were firstly introduced to the ethical, privacy, social and legal impact assessment method (PIA+) that runs throughout the project’s lifecycle. Following, through vignettes (written scenarios) that stemmed from the analysis of user needs and requirements, participants discussed on potential risks of EUNOMIA’s implementation along with the societal benefit.

The workshop proved to be successful with the interaction between participants, experts and consortium partners generating important recommendations to ensure privacy-by-design and sustainable tools valuable for the social media users.

Pinelopi Troullinou, Research Analyst at Trilateral Research

Workshop: Fighting fake news. Ways to enhance accountability, reliability and accuracy of Social Media information

March 31st, 2020 by

Workshop: Fighting fake news. Ways to enhance accountability, reliability and accuracy of Social Media information

Call for Papers

During the last decade, there has been a revolution in how people interconnect and socialize. From the early days of Facebook to today’s proliferation of Social Media of all types, people have been embracing this new form of socialization. Social networks, media and platforms are becoming the primary way in how our societies operate for the purposes of communication, information exchange, conducting business, co-creation, and learning. However, their extreme growth in combination with the lack of control over the digital content being published and shared, has led to their information veracity being heavily disputed.

As blatant fake news cases are becoming countless, motives for their spreading are often financial or political. In a recent letter, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, specifically points out the alarming situation where most people today find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites use fake news as a tool to artificially grow their traffic, in order to take advantage of increased advertising revenues. They choose what to show based on algorithms that learn from our personal data, which they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show content they think we will click on –meaning that misinformation or fake news which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, spread quickly. In the Freedom of the Net 2017 report, Freedom House is led to the same conclusion. The report studied 65 countries worldwide between June 2016 and May 2017 and found out that online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 out of 65 countries during this period, including the United States.

Establishing synergies with innovative information and communication technologies (such as semantic analysis tools, blockchains, emotional descriptors, machine learning) can enhance the accountability, reliability and accuracy of the information being shared in Social Media, leading to a more veritable sociality. Key to this situation is to safeguard the distributed and open nature of Social Media, strengthening pluralism and participation, and mitigating censorship. At the same time, what is and what is not fake news is rarely straightforward. Users cannot leave such decisions to third parties like fact checkers or computer algorithms. A more mature approach to evaluating themselves and sharing information they read online can dramatically halt the main advantage of fake news, which is their speed of spreading.

In the context of the above, this workshop invites papers in the areas of:

  • innovative ICT technologies to fight against spreading of fake news
  • digital content verification
  • distributed trust and reputation establishment in decentralized environments
  • the role of machine learning both in causing and in tackling disinformation online
  • blockchain technologies to support accountability and transparency
  • human factors in social media disinformation
  • involvement of media specialists and user communities in the content verification process
  • ethics in social media disinformation
  • information veracity in the web and social media ecosystems

The workshop is co-organized by the H2020 EUNOMIA project and the H2020 SocialTruth project.

Workshop organizers:

Dr. Konstantinos Demestichas, ICCS/NTUA, Athens, Greece, email: cdemest@cn.ntua.gr

Prof. George Loukas, University of Greenwich, UK, email: g.loukas@gre.ac.uk  

Prof. Charalampos Z. Patrikakis, University of West Attica, email: bpatr@uniwa.gr

Dr. Evgenia Adamopoulou, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece, email: evgenia.adamopoulou@ac.eap.gr

Important Dates

Full paper submission deadline: 18 August 2019

Notification of decision: 14 September 2019

Camera-ready deadline: 22 September 2019

Instructions for Authors

Submitted papers must not substantially overlap with papers that have been published or that have been submitted to a journal or a conference with proceedings. Papers should be at most 15 pages long, including the bibliography and well-marked appendices, and should follow the LNCS style (https://www.springer.com/gp/computer-science/lncs/conference-proceedings-guidelines). Submissions are to be made to the submission web site at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=edemocracy2019. Only pdf files will be accepted. Submissions not meeting these guidelines risk to be rejected without consideration of their merits. The deadline for submitting papers is 18 August 2019 (11:59 p.m. American Samoa time).

The authors of accepted papers must guarantee that their papers will be presented at the conference.