Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes great use of the digital media environment to shape public opinion and channel support for Ukraine in Europe and beyond. At the same time, the ongoing war in Ukraine is raising questions about the use of the digital sphere by other actors in times of conflict, e.g. regarding online content moderation by digital platforms, the role of echo chambers, or the mobilisation of citizens on- and offline. This roundtable will discuss the role of digital technology and online communication in recent conflicts and crises.
Previous armed conflicts took place in a highly centralised and largely homogenous media ecosystem, but many recent conflicts see increased use of digitalisation and online communication as a “game changer”. The abundance and immediacy of digital information on the conflict in Ukraine in 2022 builds on this trend: while online news websites and apps facilitate the spread of important updates on the conflict, more diverse and conflicting narratives across continents and language barriers emerge. Can new ways of gathering, analysing and sharing real-time data and open-source digital information help us to better distinguish fact and fiction? Here, social media platforms are once again key gatekeepers as recommendation algorithms and personalised newsfeeds get more sophisticated, creating echo chambers, while also controlling which information goes online. With more advanced technology to create deepfakes and to widely spread disinformation and fake news, technology companies are criticised for lack of transparency in content moderation and not upholding their responsibilities, both in Ukraine and other crises worldwide. Placing the debates on platform responsibility, online journalism and digital innovation in the context of conflicts and crises more broadly, what implications must be drawn for digital policy in Europe and beyond?
Bringing together five experts from each continent, this roundtable will explore the challenges raised by recent conflicts and crises by digital technologies and infrastructures and how experts and Young Thinkers would respond.
This webinar is part of the “Over to Youth” series as part of CEPS Young Thinkers Initative. The aim is to bring more young voices to the heart of high-level policy debates, bringing together activists, policy makers and experts from across the globe with CEPS young thinkers.