With over 200 participants, the first day of the Multidisciplinary International Symposium on Disinformation in Open Online Media (MISDOOM) was a great success. With researchers and practitioners from communication science, media studies, computer science, data science, and journalists and online media professionals they created a multidisciplinary environment to discuss current topics, technical advances and societal challenges in the area of online media. The conference takes place on October 26 and 27.
More relevant than ever
‘The MISDOOM symposium provides a platform for researchers interested in the complex problem of online misinformation and the societal challenges that come with it,’ says Frank Takes, who is organizing the conference. ‘The current corona pandemic fueled the debate on misinformation about vaccination, but in fact the concept of online disinformation existed long before that in the form of online communities centered around the existence of aliens, the belief that the moon landing was fake or that our earth is flat. The MISDOOM symposium brings together academics and practitioners from different disciplines that study how we can define, detect, understand and combat online disinformation in the broadest sense.’ According to Edda Humprecht, one of the invited speakers at the symposium, the current health crisis has highlighted the importance of international comparative online media research on misinformation and disinformation. Coming together to build a multidisciplinary and international community for joint efforts in detecting and fighting disinformation in society is therefore more relevant than ever.
Unique online format
The two-day conference is organized in an online only format, as a result of the Covid-19 measures, by the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). The conference has a unique format to implement the networking element of on-site conferences, which is harder to achieve online. ‘Normally you present your paper at a conference and can talk and discuss afterwards,’ says Suzan Verberne, one of the organizers. ‘As everything is now presented online, discussions are not initiated in a similar manner as in on-site conferences. We therefore added an extra session in which we bring together researchers of similar topics, to stimulate discussion.’