The Data School in Democracy brought together a select group of participants from different sectors for five days to learn, share and apply methodologies and research ideas on the forms, functions and impact of data in democratic societies. Noemi Trino took part in the Data Lab’s activities, which involved attending a series of conferences and discussions with built-in practical exercises, as well as a series of social network data analysis activities and, on the last day, a final hackathon, using real world data. During the hackathon the participants applied different techniques (community detection and sentiment analysis) to critically analyze an original data set from online media sources.
On 9 September 2019, at the headquarters of Viale Romania, 32 (Room 200), the presentation of the research activities of ALETHEIA (ἀλήθεια) will take place, the research laboratory of the Luiss Data Lab, founded to promote research and exchange of knowledge on issues related to information, professional correctness, the fight against misinformation and compulsory polarization in the media, on and offline.
The event will be attended by social scientists, data scientists, fact-checkers, journalists and thematic experts who will discuss issues related to disinformation.
ALETHEIA, under the direction of Gianni Riotta, promotes multidisciplinary, experimental research that combines the classic analysis of social and political fiction with the new cognitive tools, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain. ALETHEIA also works on contrasting the distortions inflicted on the information system, on social media and traditional media, from the so-called “fake news” to the artificial polarizations of the communities, which in addition to disruption on quality media induce harmful effects for contemporary societies from the reduction of trust in institutions, public or private, in the authority of science, thus negatively corrupting decisions and opinions of citizens.
To create a new quality benchmark, ALETHEIA promotes research and debate among researchers, journalists, fact-checkers, computer scientists, philosophers, scientists and every other expert in the sector to allow a rapid and cogent dialogue on the issues of technological impact on disinformation.
ALETHEIA believes in a set of values and methodologies:
- exchange and comparison of techniques, research and analysis among operators;
- access to tools and tools for checking online content without pernicious barriers;
- the creation of an international network of experts working on these issues;
- training, from school-age children to the elderly, those most exposed to fake news, on media literacy, quality journalism, trust and governance;
- the organization of events, seminars, hackathons, conferences on disinformation, fact checking, equanimity and quality in the media;
- the deepening of specific themes on health, climate, and literacy, to form a public opinion in which the critical spirit is not dampened by the new media;
- collaboration with the European observatory on disinformation SOMA (Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis) and with the northern European network EU REMID.
The theme of disinformation and its effects on public opinion has become increasingly important in recent years. Analyzing the mechanisms of exposure to the information contents, some scholars have introduced the concept of “echo chambers” (echo chambers) (Jamieson & Cappella, 2008, Sunstein, 2009), to identify those group mechanisms that would push users of the Internet to select media and content that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, and that lead to segregation within groups of opinions that are as homogeneous as they are isolated. The plurality of information that can be chosen to access on the web, paradoxically, can contribute to strengthening this mechanism of selective exposure to information, ending up favoring the affirmation and spread of large-scale disinformation (Fourney et al., 2017 , Guess et al., 2018). At this juncture, Media Literacy activities play a fundamentally important role, as they provide citizens with the necessary skills to juggle information sources, increasing their ability to derive reliable and non reliable sources of information, especially in relation to the massive production of online news, often unverified.
In this sense, according to the definition of the Expert Group on Media Literacy promoted by the European Commission, the Media Literacy comprises the set of technical, cognitive, social, civic and creative competences acquired by the individual during his life, which facilitate the development of critical thinking that allows us to participate in the economic, social and cultural aspects of society by making informed and informed decisions.
The objective of the Media Literacy workshop is to promote a critical approach to the information ecosystem. Luiss Data Lab, T6 Ecosystems and the partners of SOMA will accompany the students in a path of acquiring awareness about the different strategies of identification and recognition of fake news. The activities of the Luiss Data Lab will aim to offer students real tools to build strategies for identifying and responding to misinformation and fake news. Data collection and analysis tools will be analyzed and used in interactive mode as well as real fact-checking tools, developed within the SOMA project.
The workshop, organized by the researchers of the Luiss Data Lab, was conceived to provide participants with the basic skills to rethink the role of data in information narration. In particular, the different modules, edited by the director Gianni Riotta together with the researchers Alice Andreuzzi, Luca Tacchetti and Noemi Trino, focused on the following educational objectives: – Acquire the ability to manage multidimensional data analysis; ● Develop new communication and digital storytelling techniques: tracing strategies and analysis for digital journalism, new communication techniques, data driven information, for traditional and online publications, but also for brands and companies that need content providers, data analysts, viewers, storytellers; ● Develop strategies applied to investigative security issues; ● Understand the use of Big Data and Analytics to get new business opportunities. ● Apply creation strategies and progressive growth of audience and community to the benefit of existing or newly created journalistic publications; ● Talk to the basic data terminology; ● Understand and counteract disinformation phenomena contrary to freedom of expression.