“Fake News”: Responding to disinformation in Western political campaigns


Date: 14:00-16:00, Thursday 30th November 2017

Location: The Henry Jackson Society,
Millbank Tower,  London, SW1P 4QP

Opening Remarks:  

Timothy Stafford
Research Director, Henry Jackson Society

Tomi Huhtanen
Executive Director, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies


Edward Lucas
Senior Editor, The Economist

Jakub Janda
Deputy Director, European Values Think Tank

James Carson
Head of SEO and Social Media, The Telegraph


Roland Freudenstein
Policy Director, Wilfred Martens Centre

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In partnership with The Wilfried Martens Centre, The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to a panel discussion on fake news. 

Fake news and disinformation have topped the agendas of Western policymakers in the last year, especially as a result of the 2016 presidential election in the United States. During that campaign, the Russian government used thousands of fake social media accounts on Twitter, as well as adverts on Facebook, to spread information that furthered its agenda. The Russian government is also believed to have leveraged its so-called “troll army”— individuals paid by the Kremlin to produce and promote fake social media content — to impact messaging around the Brexit referendum. In both campaigns, the intention was intended to affect voting behaviour.

Businesses, governments, and international organisations are increasingly waking up to the importance of tackling fake news and disinformation. However, this is not a simple or straightforward task. Facebook, for example, has begun to use outside fact-checkers to fight against fake news. Yet, a recent study by Yale University found that fact-checking and tagging inaccurate news stories on social media has not been effective. While politicians discuss the problems of fake news and disinformation with increasing regularity, they have found it difficult to come to an agreement on how to tackle the phenomenon.

Given the persistence of the problem, Western policymakers need to provide satisfactory answers to key questions,  namely ‘How to identify fake news and disinformation?’, ‘How to counter them in the open Western media space?’, ‘How to respond to a fake news and disinformation campaign that is organised and directed by a hostile foreign power?’, and ‘Can a fake news and disinformation campaign by a foreign power be considered as an act of aggression?’.

Edward LucasEdward Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist. He has served as a foreign correspondent in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Moscow and the Baltic States. In addition to authoring The New Cold War, an assessment of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Mr Lucas is also the author of Deception, which examines east-west espionage operations.

Jakub Janda

Jakub Janda is the Deputy Director of the Prague-based European Values think tank, where he heads the Kremlin Watch Program. He specializes in the steps democratic states take in response to hostile disinformation and influence operations.

James Carson

James Carson is the head of Social Media at Telegraph Media Group, where he is also responsible for Search Engine Optimisation. He previously worked as a consultant specialising in digital marketing. Mr Carson has written and lectured extensively on the growing prominence of ‘fake news’.

Roland Freudenstein

Roland Freudenstein is Policy Director at the Wilfred Martens Centre, where he specialises in European integration and international security. He has previously worked for the European Commission, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

The Wilfried Martens Centre’s participation in this event has been made possible by financial support from the European Parliament. Sole liability rests with the organiser, the European Parliament is not responsible for the activity.


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