Tom Kent (Adjunct Professor of International Affairs) writes about the civil society activists in Europe who are becoming a powerful tool for fighting disinformation online (The American Interest, June 2, 2020).
"When COVID-19 swept into Lithuania, conspiracy-oriented Facebook groups bulged with disinformation: U.S. soldiers brought the virus to Lithuania, dark forces invented the virus to dominate the world, vaccines will contain nanochips to let people be controlled by 5G cellphone signals.
Then something happened.
New people suddenly started filtering into the Facebook groups, attacking the conspiracy theories. Group administrators blocked them. But the interlopers kept coming. New names and accounts kept appearing, each fighting the false narratives in its own way.
There was nothing accidental about the arrival of these new voices. Behind them was a coordinated effort by the “elves,” a team of Lithuanian activists who have been fighting disinformation for six years. Team members worked together to penetrate the groups. They reported to each other who had been blocked and deployed new assets as needed, a team spokesman said." Read the article.