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Why do we fall for fake news?

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20 May 2019




21:00 (more or less) 

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Brussels Beer Project

Rue Antoine Dansaert 188, 1000 Bruxelles






While you’re reading this, thousands of false or malicious stories are spread all over the internet and in the media. Maybe you have already shared one. The rise of social platforms have placed journalism and the communications landscape under fire. Anyone can release and promote from misinformed opinions and rumours to orchestrated campaigns designed to deliberately harm a person, social group, organisation, or country.

Not sure how fake news go viral, why people believe them, and how they can be fought? Come meet three amazing researchers and discover their projects while sipping a pint of beer!

Photo Credit: Mike Austin/CCBY-NC-ND

How to Hack the Human Mind with Fake News

Ike Picone

Assistant professor & Senior Researcher

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The news industry is in a constant state of flux. News users are bombarded with (fake?) information, which they consume across a growing range of connected devices, and which shape the way they see the world. How do we decide whether to click or not on a news piece? Do we take the time to objectively evaluate the facts? Are we more and more vulnerable to incorrect news stories that spread like viruses and affect our understanding of the society? Join us and find out how cognitive biases are used in the media to hack human mind, leading to disinformation, polarization, or radicalization.

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A Tattoo, A Trucker & Loads of Fake News: Rise And Fall of a Website Network

Maarten Schenk

Fact Checker & Developer

Lead Stories

In early 2019 a joint investigation by fact checking organisations Lead Stories (BE/US) & Nieuwscheckers (NL) uncovered a Macedonian network of over 70 websites that had been spreading fake news and hate messages for financial gain since at least 2016. Discover the tools & techniques that were used to connect all the evidence which finally led to the identification of the people running it and the shutdown of the network. You will also learn about the the tricks they used to reach their audience.

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What’s in a Number: Developing Data Dexterity in Times of Connected Childhoods

Karen Triquet


Vrije Universiteit Brussels

In a society that is increasingly connected and ‘smart’; to what extent are these inhabited digital fabrics that might occasionally ‘nudge' us actually understood and enabling of agentic inputs? Do our current school systems, and more broadly, our educational upbringings (formal, informal, non-formal experiences), equip us with the necessary critical and digital competences to confront, question and negotiate these existing and emerging realities? Join us on a brief exploratory ride to better understand why and how the DataBuzz (a VUB practice and research project) has come about!

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