Media cafe | The spread of Russian fake news in the Netherlands

How conspiracy theorists spread Putin's propaganda and what journalism can do about it

Media cafe | The spread of Russian fake news in the Netherlands

Russian fake news about the Ukraine war regularly crops up in the Netherlands and Flanders. How does this disinformation end up here and who is behind it? What technological means can journalists use to expose the spreaders of  fake news ?


(NB: the language of instruction is English due to the presence of international journalism students and a foreign speaker)

Welcome and short introduction by moderator Jozefien Daelemans (Coordinator Talent Development at deBuren)

Presentation of research
On the basis of an analysis of more than 3 million Telegram messages, the opinion magazine Knack, VRT NWS and the Dutch Pointer (KRO-NCRV) investigated how Western conspiracy thinkers, also in the Low Countries, allow themselves to be used by Putin’s propaganda. The investigation focused on the completely fictitious story that the Russians invaded Ukraine because viruses are being developed there in American bio labs to wipe out the Russian population.

  • Karin Eeckhout (journalist and fact checker at Knack ) and Amra Dorjbayar (data journalist at VRT NWS) present the research and explain the technology used. The research was realized with the support of, among others, the  Flemish-Dutch Journalist Scholarship (VNJB).

Panel discussion
What possibilities does new technology offer journalists to detect fake news? Which innovations can be expected in the near future, how are larger platforms already using this technology? Are ‘classic’ media in line? Two guest speakers join this discussion:

  • Hind Fraihi (Apache journalist) and Nelly Pailleux (CKO and co-founder of CheckFirst). Apache and CheckFirst are two of the four partners in the EU – supported CrossOver project . CrossOver tracks and measures the influence of content recommendation algorithms on social media in Belgium and shows how they can lead to disinformation.  

Afterwards we chat over a drink offered by deBuren.

About us

Check First is a leading Finnish software and methodologies company, spearheading adversarial research techniques. We believe that everyone should be able to understand how and why content is presented to them. We advocate for online clarity and accountability, building solutions to attain this goal. Partnering with leading institutions, regulators, NGOs and educators, we aim at curbing the spread of disinformation and foreign influence manipulations.

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