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Migration and fake news

This use case will focus on providing migration measures toward the EU xenophobic episodes resulting to physical violence and other hate crimes. It will focus on the problematic spread of D&FN regarding the size and nature of migration toward the EU24. The danger of these forms of D&FN is closely related with the fact that unprecedented migration towards Europe have created growing xenophobic sentiments which result to the raise of violent radicalization from right-wing extremists.

In many cases, non-state actors are trying to spread disinformation to pursue different strategic objectives. Their aim is to undermine trust in the local governance and, at the same time, reinforce non-state actors’ extremist narratives and recruitment strategies. In addition, they want to increase the “inspired terrorism” or the motivation of selfradicalized terrorists in order to perpetrate real attacks. Other objectives of terrorist propaganda via D&FN may include the use of psychological manipulation to undermine an individual’s belief in specific social values, or to propagate a sense of heightened anxiety, fear or panic in a population or subset of the population.

Such events are also often related / linked to foreign political interference, protest over imaginary events and violence.

A recent example is the purchase of around 3,400 advertisements on social media from Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), during the US 2016 election campaign where ‘Russian- linked accounts reached 126 million people on Facebook, at least 20 million users on Instagram, 1.4 million users on Twitter, and uploaded over 1,000 videos to YouTube. Whether or not successful, manipulating elections by affecting voters’ opinions and choices through disinformation, threatens democracy and creates a trail of doubt as to whether democratic institutions actually reflect citizens’ choices. In some cases, this lack of trust results in incivility, protests over imaginary events, or violence.

All these forms of D&FN infuse uncertainty and fear, intensify the crisis situations, weaken the European societies, and aggravate its divisions; thus leading to episode of physical violence and other hate crimes.