Disinformation Resilience Training for Gen Z aims to teach students how to recognize falsehoods

‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on’, said Winston Churchill. Or did he? Those who want to learn more about how to stay alert in a world where misleading information spreads six times faster than facts, DebunkEU.org team invites to participate in a free, international Disinformation Resilience Training.


This saying is often wrongly attributed to the British PM – but sharing a harmless quote on social media will not cause that much harm, right? However, a quick Google search reveals that not everybody follows the golden rule of “trust but verify”.


Looking for ways how to strengthen the resilience of Lithuanian youth to false and misleading content, DebunkEU.org organized a two-day training for university students, full of games, lectures, and discussions.


Guests from NATO, members of the diplomatic community, and experts from the fields of fact-checking, cyber security, disinformation analysis and political sciences will share their know-how for separating facts from fiction.


The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Lithuania H.E. Ms Bonnie Horbach, who will open the event, pointed out that the project lays a strong foundation for Lithuania’s young leaders in the field of hybrid conflict and disinformation. ‘The training empowers young leaders to become communicators about resilience and media literacy, so that they can inform their peers on today’s security threats’, says H.E. Ms Horbach.

‘Through this event we want to reach members of Gen Z, because in ten years’ time they will become the decision makers. Therefore, we want to help the next generation to acquire skills it needs to withstand challenges created by disinformation and find effective solutions on how to solve them’, says Viktoras Daukšas, Head of DebunkEU.org.


To exemplify the atmosphere of real-life urgency needed to respond to hybrid threats, students will participate in a live strategic game-simulation. They will be split into two groups with specific goals and will have to come up with best solutions on how to achieve them. The aim of this exercise is to understand how intentionally malicious content spreads and what concrete steps can be taken to lessen its impact.


To deepen their understanding of what techniques various hostile actors apply to deceive unsuspecting citizens, participants of will play a short, 15-minute digital game BadNews, which puts the players into the shoes of an online troll and asks them to create and spread falsehoods. Based on the research carried out by Cambridge University, through experiencing how disinformation is disseminated, people learn how to recognize it and become at least 20% more resilient to it.


The idea to develop such training arose after analysing problems that Gen Z faces. According to research carried out by the university of Stanford, even though young people can be called “digital natives”, more often than not they struggle to differentiate a credible source from a fake. A Swedish study found that 88% of young people who were confident in their information literacy skills couldn’t separate ads from news in Sweden’s most read newspaper, and only 44% identified text from Swedish public radio as more credible than text from a right wing website.


The activities will be held in Lithuanian and English languages. At the end of the training, all participants will receive a certificate of completion.


The event is going to be held on November 25-26, at Novotel Hotel in Vilnius. The registration is open here till November 20: https://www.debunkeu.org/event-details/international-disinformation-resilience-training-for-gen-z-leaders/form


The project is funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Lithuania and NATO Public Diplomacy Division.