Berlin · MAY 25-26 · 2018:

HATE NEWS: Manipulators, Trolls & Influencers

Misinformation Ecosystems Series - Part I - 2018

Investigating online opinion manipulation, strategic hate speech and misinformation – and their impact on civil rights.


The 13th conference of the Disruption Network Lab

Location: Studio 1, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin.
Partner Event at SPEKTRUM, Bürknerstr. 12, 12047, Berlin.
Curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli.

Funded by: Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa (Senate Department for Culture and Europa, Berlin), Reva & David Logan Foundation, Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. In partnership with: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

In cooperation with: Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, SPEKTRUM. In collaboration with: Wau Holland Stiftung, r0g_agency for Open Culture and Critical Transformation, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). Media Partners: ExBerliner, Furtherfield.

Entrance Studio 1: 5€/day (Conference) · Spektrum: Donation.
In English language.


Friday May 25 · 2018

16:30 -Doors open

17:00-18:30 – KEYNOTE

BETWEEN HATE AND HOPE: Lessons from Kenya on Hate Speech and Political Manipulation on the Internet

Nanjala Nyabola (Kenyan Political Analyst, Writer, and Humanitarian Advocate, KE).
Moderated by Jo Havemann (r0g_agency for Open Culture and Critical Transformation, DE)

18:30 - Break

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

TARGETED, PROFILED & INFLUENCED: On Cambridge Analytica and Beyond

David Carroll (Associate Professor of Media Design, Parsons School of Design, USA)
Bernd Fix (Hacker and Computer Security Expert, Wau Holland Stiftung, DE)
Marloes de Valk (Software Artist and Writer, NL)
Moderated by Theresa Züger (Project Lead, Media Policy Lab, Media Authority Berlin-Brandenburg, DE)

Saturday May 26 · 2018

15:30 - Doors open

16:00-17:30 – KEYNOTE

UNCOVERING CORRUPTION: On Strategic Harassment, Mexican Trolls and Election Manipulation

Andrea Noel (Mexico-based Journalist, Covering the Drug war, Politics & Gender-Based Violence, USA/MX)
Renata Avila (Human Rights & Tech Lawyer, Board Member of the German Whistleblower Network, GT)

17:30 - BREAK

18:00-18:40 – THE CLEANERS – SHORT  DOCUMENTARY PREVIEW

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck (Filmmakers, DE)

18:40 - BREAK

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

FACING IDEOLOGIES AND STRATEGIES OF HATE: Hate Speech, Online Violence and Digital Rights

Caroline Sinders (Machine Learning Designer/User Researcher, Artist, Digital Anthropologist, USA)
Øyvind Strømmen (Author and Journalist, Expert on Extreme Movements, Hate Speech and Hate Crimes, NO)
Cathleen Berger (Policy Expert & Lead, Mozilla's Strategic Engagement with Global Internet Fora, DE)
Moderated by Margarita Tsomou (Author, Dramaturge and Curator, GR/DE)

Sunday May 27 · 2018

20:00-22:00 + Open End Bar - PARTNER EVENT @ SPEKTRUM

Hate, Digital Cleaning and Control on Social Media
Introduced by Tatiana Bazzichelli (Founding Artistic Director, Disruption Network Lab, IT/DE)


HATE NEWS: Manipulators, Trolls & Influencers

Misinformation Ecosystems Conference Series - Part I - 2018

What is the relation between the deliberate spreading of hate online and political manipulation?

The US Presidential elections in 2016, emphasising the term “Fake News”, encouraged the media debate around the deliberate spreading of incorrect facts to influence political and social processes. Alongside, the recent Cambridge Analytica debacle about whether psychometric targeting can influence people’s behaviour, following the allegations of former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie, contributed to a deeper investigation into opinion manipulation on social media and beyond.

As part of the Disruption Network Lab thematic series "Misinformation Ecosystems" (2018), this event looks into the consequences of online opinion manipulation and strategic hates speech and investigates the technological responses to the phenomena in the context of the battle for civil rights.

On May 25, the programme focuses on the issue of opinion manipulation in the political context, from the interconnections of traditional and online media in the misinformation ecosystem in Kenya, to the privacy implications of behavioural profiling on social media within the Cambridge Analytica debate.

On May 26, the conference investigates the ideology and reasons behind hate speech. Focus will be stories of people that have been trapped in and affected by hate campaigns, violence, and sexual assault online and offline: from one side, understanding the general causes that led to the spreading of hate speech as political and social phenomena, and from the other side, addressing people that experienced these phenomena themselves.

The spreading of false facts and the strategic production of online hate speech are often two sides of the same coin, and closely related phenomena although they seem different. The careful analysis of them and the examination of their technological, legal and social reactions are deeply necessary.

How does the production of misinformation influence us? Which role does big data play in this context? Bringing together journalists, researchers, artists, hacktivists and people who have experienced hate and online violence personally (and publicly), the core question of this conference is how the right of free speech could be protected without supporting those who undermine democracy by disseminating false statements, misinformation or harassment, both online and offline.

We aim to provoke awareness by reflecting on possible countermeasures that come from the artistic, technological and political framework. Participants will present initiatives generating truth within the fog of misinformation, as well as dealing with legal and social consequences of strategically deleting or influencing posts and comments in social media. In the context of the Disruption Network Lab’s activity since 2015, speakers will not only be invited to comment on the subjects, but also to share their stories as practitioners that engage directly within the matter under scrutiny, being investigative journalists, truth-tellers, computer scientists, hackers, artists and activists.


CONFERENCE EVENTS

Friday May 25 · 2018

17:00-18:30 – KEYNOTE

BETWEEN HATE AND HOPE: Lessons from Kenya on Hate Speech and Political Manipulation on the Internet

Nanjala Nyabola (Kenyan Political Analyst, Writer, and Humanitarian Advocate, KE).
Moderated by Jo Havemann (r0g_agency for Open Culture and Critical Transformation, DE)

Misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia – these ideas in themselves are not new but increased connectivity makes them easier to package and to transmit. In this historical moment, it is easy to focus on events in the West where most of the world's Internet users live, but Nanjala Nyabola’s presentation will force us to look to other parts of the world where the story is more complicated. With one of the highest rates of Internet penetration in the developing world and particularly a rapidly growing social media presence, Kenya is the perfect place to examine our assumptions about how the Internet intersects with politics, and particularly hate speech. What was it about Kenya's digital space that made it so attractive to the same companies that worked on major political campaigns in the West? Did the Internet really contribute to more hate speech in Kenya? Did it affect politics? How should the different actors - the government, internet companies and individuals - respond? This isn't a presentation about technology, but about what happens when technology and human agency collide in a volatile context.

This Keynote will be introduced by a short presentation about #ThinkB4UClick (Think Before You Click), a #defyhatenow led awareness campaign that aims at creating public awareness on the dangers of misinformation, fake news and hate speech in South Sudan, initiated by the Berlin-based r0g_agency for open culture and critical transformation (read more here).

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

TARGETED, PROFILED & INFLUENCED: On Cambridge Analytica and Beyond

David Carroll (Associate Professor of Media Design, Parsons School of Design, USA)
Bernd Fix (Hacker and Computer Security Expert, Wau Holland Stiftung, DE)
Marloes de Valk (Software Artist and Writer, NL)
Moderated by Theresa Züger (Project Lead, Media Policy Lab, Media Authority Berlin-Brandenburg, DE)

How is public opinion deliberately manipulated on social media? How does computational propaganda work in order to influence ideologies? Computational propaganda is the strategic use of social media, bots and algorithms that are planned in order to manipulate opinions and influence ideologies. State and non-state political actors have used automated applications such as social bots to manipulate conversation, demobilise opposition, provoke hate and generate false information on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. How can we identify and evaluate the results of these technologies? Who are the people beyond psychometric profiling? And with what measures should we counter targeting messages and unauthorised use of private data, so that the assessment of political events is not based on automated scripts? In this panel, David Carroll will speak about his legal action against Cambridge Analytica, which he sued to try to discover how he was profiled and potentially targeted by the Trump campaign; as part of the same debate, Bernd Fix will address the concept of cybernetic society, in which socio-political regulation and control and the underlying economy are governed by cybernetic regulatory circuits; Marloes de Valk will present her practice-based artistic research dealing with strategic manipulation of public opinion in the past and the present, connecting experiments in the 1980s with the Cambridge Analytica debate and the recent congressional hearings of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Saturday May 26 · 2018

16:00-17:30 – KEYNOTE

UNCOVERING CORRUPTION: On Strategic Harassment, Mexican Trolls and Election Manipulation

Andrea Noel (Mexico-based Journalist, Covering the Drug war, Politics & Gender-Based Violence, USA/MX)
Renata Avila (Human Rights & Tech Lawyer, Board Member of the German Whistleblower Network, GT)

Andrea Noel is an American journalist based in Mexico, covering immigration, the drug war, cartel violence, gender harassment and the silenced press. In 2016, she experienced a very intricate story, the so-called Incident, connecting online trolls, gender violence, opinion manipulation and strategic political influence. On March 8, 2016, the International Working Women’s Day, Noel was sexually assaulted on the street. She decided to report the assault, becoming target of sexist media attention and countless death and rape threats. She will tell the insights of this story, which became a viral saga about online harassment, targeted trolling and strategic political manipulation. This event forced her to confront the corrupt Mexican legal system and the authorities, issues that she is still covering actively as a journalist and researcher. To conclude, Andrea Noel and Renata Avila will present their current project on digital threats in the latest Mexican election.

18:00-18:40 – THE CLEANERS – SHORT DOCUMENTARY PREVIEW

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck (Filmmakers, DE)

In this documentary preview, filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck will present their film THE CLEANERS - Die Digitale Müllabfuhr (1h 28min | Documentary | 27 May 2018, Germany | Eng. language, thecleaners-film.de). THE CLEANERS is a journey into the underground industries of Manila, right at the centre of digital censorship - where the Internet must be "cleansed" of controversial contents. Who controls what we see and what we think? The utopian vision of an interconnected global Internet community ultimately turns into a nightmare when high-ranking former employees of Facebook and the like provide insight into the operating modes and mechanisms of said platforms. Through calculated reinforcement of emotions, those platforms turn into dangerous accelerators, fuelling social, political and societal conflicts and pushing the looming division of our society even further.

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

FACING IDEOLOGIES AND STRATEGIES OF HATE: Hate Speech, Online Violence and Digital Rights

Caroline Sinders (Machine Learning Designer/User Researcher, Artist, Digital Anthropologist, USA)
Øyvind Strømmen (Author and Journalist, Expert on Extreme Movements, Hate Speech and Hate Crimes, NO)
Cathleen Berger (Policy Expert & Lead, Mozilla's Strategic Engagement with Global Internet Fora, DE)
Moderated by Margarita Tsomou (Author, Dramaturge and Curator, GR/DE)

What are the ideological reasons behind hate speech? Do hate comments and misinformation contribute to limiting our freedom of speech? What is the legal response to hate speech in the context of the battle for privacy and civil rights? In this panel, speakers will discuss the social, political, and technological implications of hate speech in social media and beyond. Caroline Sinders will be talking about online harassment campaigns and digital violence, and how online systems can mitigate and propagate forms of online violence. She will address the issues of what online harassment 'looks' like in a social network; how an online harassment campaign organise, move, and attack and where design fits into this problem. Øyvind Strømmen will reflect on the ideological causes of hate speech, referring to the recent development of far-right movements and extremist groups. Cathleen Berger will focus on NetzDG, the German “Act to improve the enforcement of the law in social networks” (entered into force on October 1, 2017), to combat illegal and harmful content on social media platforms. She will describe how it came about, what it tackles, how it has developed since, and what it has triggered in other parts of the world – with a view to policy engagement, advocacy and awareness raising, in the context of the debate on openness and decentralisation.

Sunday May 27 · 2018

20:00-22:00 + Open End Bar - PARTNER EVENT @ SPEKTRUM

Hate, Digital Cleaning and Control on Social Media
Introduced by Tatiana Bazzichelli (Founding Artistic Director, Disruption Network Lab, IT/DE)
A look at the shadowy underworld of the Internet where questionable content is removed. Who is controlling what we write and what we read on social media?


Speakers

Nanjala Nyabola (Kenyan Political Analyst, Writer, and Humanitarian Advocate, KE)

Nanjala Nyabola is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her research focuses on politics and society in East Africa, as well as conflict and migration. She has published extensively in international outlets like Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the Nation and others and is the author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet is Transforming Kenya (Zed Books, 2018).

Jo Havemann (r0g_agency for Open Culture and Critical Transformation, DE)

Johanna Havemann is a trainer and consultant in Science Communication and Management as well as Developmental Cooperation. Her work experience covers NGOs, a science startup and international institutions including the UN Environment Programme. Since 2014, Johanna is offering courses and trainings in science communication, project management and career development with a focus on digital tools for science through her label „Access 2 Perspectives“, thereby also strengthening Research on the African continent through Open Science. She currently coordinates communication and public relations for the Berlin based NPO r0g_agency for Open Culture and Critical Transformation gGmbH and is a board member of the social innovation NGO “Global Innovation Gathering”.

David Carroll (Associate Professor of Media Design, Parsons School of Design, USA)

An Associate Professor of Media Design at Parsons School of Design, David Carroll’s research and practice sits at the intersections between advertising, journalism, politics, data, algorithms, and user experience design. Currently pursuing a legal challenge against Cambridge Analytica and its affiliated companies for full disclosure of his voter profile used in the 2016 US elections under the UK Data Protection Act, he seeks transparency to better understand our data-driven democracies.

Bernd Fix (Hacker and Computer Security Expert, Wau Holland Stiftung, DE)

Bernd Fix is a German hacker and Computer Security Expert. He joined the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) in 1986 and was later one of the spokespersons of the CCC (1987-1989) and contributor for the “Hacker Bible 2”. His work on computer security focussed on computer virus research. In 1987 he devised a method to neutralize the Vienna Virus; this event marks the first documented antivirus software ever written. One of his research viruses for IBM mainframe computers was allegedly stolen by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service in Germany) in 1988 to be used in attacks against East Block and NATO mainframe computer systems in the so-called “Project Rahab”. After the death of his friend Wau Holland (co-founder of the Chaos Computer Club) in 2001, Fix helped to establish the Wau Holland Foundation and serves as a founding member of the Board of Directors ever since.

Marloes de Valk (Software Artist and Writer, NL)

Marloes de Valk is a software artist and writer in the post-despair stage of coping with the threat of global warming and being spied on by the devices surrounding her. Surprised by the obsessive dedication with which we, even post-Snowden, share intimate details about ourselves to an often not too clearly defined group of others, astounded by the deafening noise we generate while socializing with the technology around us, she is looking to better understand why.

Theresa Züger (Project Lead, Media Policy Lab, Media Authority Berlin-Brandenburg, DE)

Theresa Züger is the project lead of the media policy lab, a project by the media authority Berlin-Brandenburg. She also works as curator and moderator, e.g. for the international festival transmediale in 2016, and is an associated researcher of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. She was trained at the University of Cologne in media studies, philosophy and German language and literature and holds a PhD from the Humboldt University of Berlin in media studies. Her PhD focuses on digital forms of civil disobedience, such as the Snowden leaks or other acts of whistleblowing and she is a board member of the Whistleblower Network Germany.

Andrea Noel (Mexico-based Journalist, Covering the Drug war, Politics & Gender-Based Violence, USA/MX)

Andrea Noel is a Mexico-based journalist covering the drug war, politics, gender-based violence, and the silenced press. Noel has spent the last year analysing political manipulation of social media in Mexico: bots, trolls, influencers, and smoke screens. She has written for The Daily Beast, VICE News, Fusion, and others.

Renata Avila (Human Rights & Tech Lawyer, Board Member of the German Whistleblower Network, GT)

Renata Avila, Guatemalan, is an international lawyer and digital rights advocate. Specializing in Intellectual Property and Technology, her work addresses the crucial intersection between human rights, information, technological change and the power disparities between the Global North and South. Avila sits on the Board of Creative Commons and is an advisory board member of Diem25. She is currently based in Belgrade and Guatemala, and is writing a book about Digital Colonialism.

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck (Filmmakers, DE)

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck are German directors. They graduated in Directing at the Academy for Dramatic Arts in Berlin and have worked together since 2007 under the name of "Laokoon" on theatre performances and social media productions. Documentary The Cleaners (2018) is their directorial debut. Moritz Riesewieck wrote the book Digitale Drecksarbeit: Wie uns Facebook & Co. von dem Bösen erlösen (Publisher: dtv Verlagsgesellschaft, September 2017).

Caroline Sinders (Machine Learning Designer/User Researcher, Artist, Digital Anthropologist, USA)

Caroline Sinders is a critical designer and artist working in machine learning, VR, conversations, violence, emotions, data, and protest. She holds a Master from New York University in Interactive Technology. Caroline has held residencies with the International Center of Photography, Eyebeam, and the Frank Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry, and YBCA. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana and based between San Francisco and New York.

Øyvind Strømmen (Author and Journalist, Expert on Extreme Movements, Hate Speech and Hate Crimes, NO)

Øyvind Strømmen is a Norwegian freelance journalist and author. He has written extensively on the extreme right and other forms of extremism since 2007, and has published the Norwegian-language books Det mørke nettet (2011) and Den sorte tråden (2013), the first of which is also translated into Swedish, Finnish and French. His book Det mørke nettet (The Dark Network) is an important contribution to the understanding of radical right movements, right-wing ideologies and actors in Norway and in Europe. Strømmen was named Freelance Journalist of the Year in Norway in 2011 by the Norwegian Union of Journalists.

Cathleen Berger (Policy Expert & Lead, Mozilla's Strategic Engagement with Global Internet Fora, DE)

Cathleen Berger is currently leading Mozilla's strategic engagement with Global Internet Fora. In this position, she is tasked with identifying emerging trends around privacy and security, digital inclusion and literacy, openness and decentralisation in order to remain aware and ahead of global tech policy developments. She is a political scientist by training and has always had a keen interest on the intersection of technological developments and human rights.

Margarita Tsomou (Author, Dramaturge and Curator, GR/DE)

Margarita Tsomou works as an author, dramaturge, cultural worker and curator in Berlin. She holds a PhD on the Representation of the Many, in the context of the Greek Indignados movement and the Syntagma Square Occupation in 2011 in Athens. She has been publisher of the pop-feminist magazine Missy-Magazine and writes for German newspapers and radio (f.ex., Die Zeit, taz, WDR, SWR). Her artistic work has been shown at theatres such as Volksbühne, Hebbel am Ufer, Kampnagel Hamburg and Goethe-Institut Athens. Her focuses are feminism, political art as well as the debt crisis in Greece.


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