DebunkEU.org, VsI, is an independent technology think tank and non-governmental organization that researches disinformation and runs educational media literacy campaigns. DebunkEU.org provides disinformation analyses in Baltic countries, Poland, Georgia and Montenegro, as well as in the United States and North Macedonia together with our partners.
DebunkEU.org in a Nutshell
Reports Per Year
Issues with countering disinformation arise because of several reasons. Firstly, efforts of debunking false/misleading content online are very fragmented. Secondly, it can be really time consuming because it is difficult to fact-check a piece of information if you do not know where to start. Thirdly, debunking disinformation costs way more than creating it, and lastly - it is difficult to disprove false claims in real time. All those issues considered, countering disinformation requires complex solutions.
DebunkEU.org utilizes the efforts and expertise of:
A team of skilled analysts with backgrounds ranging from political science and history to business and media
National institutions in our partner countries, providing us with valuable insights on the situation in the Baltics
IT magicians with a broad knowledge of AI tools which help us make the fact-checking process faster and fool-proof
Lithuanian community of volunteer fact-checkers also known as elves (because of their notorious skills of hunting online trolls).
Because of a longtime shared history, we cooperate with our colleagues in Latvia and Estonia. Since all three Baltic states broke out of Soviet Union in 1990, the level of threat coming from Russia has grown exponentially. To build resilience to disinformation amongst the citizens of these countries, we had joined forces with analysts and elves from our Baltic neighbors.
Poland also faces similar challenges with foreign actors attempting to influence public opinion and undermine democratic processes - therefore, we have expanded the scope of our disinformation analysis and started covering Poland as well.
As disinformation is becoming an issue of utmost importance, DebunkEU.org has set a goal of providing insights into complex issues in a concise, understandable, yet informative way.
Our team of analysts conducts detailed research into disinformation concerns in the Baltic countries and Poland. The topics for the reports are dictated by the current issues - misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, political turmoil in Belarus and Russia, attempts to target NATO activities, and other sensitive topics which frequently come up in the public debate.
With discussion about the foreign meddling in electoral processes growing stronger, it is crucial to bring to light the main actors, narratives and techniques which are used to sway the public dialogue, challenge the importance of democratic values and ultimately shift the geopolitical landscape.
DebunkEU.org worked on monitoring disinformation over the Parliamentary election in North Macedonia in January-August 2020, and Lithuanian Parliamentary election in October 2020 when our analysts focused on political ads and posts on Facebook, and communication about the election in digital media.
The ultimate goal of any disinformation-countering activity is building public resilience through providing them with skills necessary to recognize false and misleading content in their daily life.
Through 2020, in collaboration with a Dutch company DROG and Delfi newsroom, we have launched the BadNews game and adapted it for the Baltic audiences. The aim of the initiative is to increase the ability to spot manipulated information on the internet and of citizens in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia through a gamified media literacy program.
In 2021, our team started working on the Civic Resilience Course aimed at university students. The goal is to teach the young generation to recognise false information online and become more aware, and more critical consumers of media.
As disinformation analysis is an ever-evolving field, there is a constant need for new experts who could work with researching the latest trends. To contribute towards building the expert community, DebunkEU.org developed a two-part certification programme consisting of a theoretical and practical phases.
The theoretical part consists of a digital Disinformation Analyst: hands-on crash course. This 8-academic-hour course is designed to provide a solid methodological base for a beginning disinformation analyst.
After the course is completed and the final exam was passed, trainees partake in 8-12 week practical training with DebunkEU.org analysts' team, where they learn how to label content and draft their first reports.