Webinar "What you should know about disinformation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict" was organized by MAKAIA in cooperation with TechSoup Europe and DFRLab. The three invited experts analyzed the role of disinformation in conflict situations. Speakers shed light on the context and rationale behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine, evaluated disinformation strategies used during it, assess their effect on the regional level in Latin America, and explained how to avoid being an unwilling participant in the disinformation narratives that are designed to generate confusion, polarization, and even tensions in societies.

David Santos Gómez, PhD in Social Sciences from FLACSO in Buenos Aires, Argentina talked about the context of the situation - what caused the invasion, what has been happening since its start and what can we expect when it comes to future developments. He highlighted the importance of the historical and political context in understanding the role of Russia and how figures such as Vladimir Putin and his propaganda machine have positioned the war on a local and international arena.

Olivia Sohr, director of Impact and new initiatives at Chequeado Argentina, focused on the issue of disinformation - what role does it play and with what objectives? What type of tools are used to generate disinformation? She also shared practical tips on how to identify false information.

Finally, Esteban Ponce de León, research assistant at the Digital Forensic Research Laboratory (DFRLab) of the Atlantic Council, analyzed the consequences of the disinformation tactics used in the region and stated that it is indeed an issue that we should be concerned about, follow its development one the international arena and be mindful of how it affects the polarization in the region.

When it comes to key-take aways from the discussion its worth mentioning the effects of propaganda and disinformation campaigns as we are all exposed to it – never mind the topic of our place of residence. Disinformation breaks geographical, political and language barriers, it is a worrying phenomenon that has become more relevant in the digital age where more and more tools make it easier to spread the false information to generate confusion and divert attention from other topics in the public discourse.

Due to an all-encompassing nature of the phenomenon it must be countered by governments and civil society working together, as well as the tech community given how tools must be provided to strengthen the critical and emotional skills of citizens(which are key to being able to analyze and identify disinformation, avoid sharing it, validate and discard this type of content).

If you haven’t yet - watch the recording:

If you want to strengthen your media literacy skills and address disinformation and its risks more effectively, sign up for the free online course "Countering Disinformation"