On September 13th, 2018, for the first time, the unique project Debunk! was officially presented in Lithuania. The fight against disinformation in the public space is joined by seven main Lithuanian media outlets (which cover 90 percentage of the Lithuanian population) – as well as representatives of the public and the state.
Debunk! is a national initiative that unites the largest media sources, society, and the state, combined with unique tools and multiple levels of algorithms with one purpose – fighting disinformation. This is the first such project in Lithuania and possibly in the world. With the help of unique algorithm-based tools, the media can react more quickly and effectively to disinformation and debunk it.
One of the goals of this initiative is to bring together professionals from diverse areas – Lithuanian elves. They are the experts of various subjects – from social, humanitarian, science fields to media or business. Elves can voluntarily join the initiative and monitor the news feed at any time of the day and quickly help the media to unmask fake news and prevent its spread.
More than 40 experts from different fields have already contributed to the development of the platform, as well as more than 30 Lithuanian elves that have already been involved. With the initiative and the efforts of these people, a platform to make the fight against fake news more effective has been created in just one year. State institutions are also cooperating in the Debunk! initiative – it has received support from a large number of government officials – the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Speaker of the Seimas (the Parliament) Viktoras Pranckietis.
Disinformation and fake news are becoming more relevant today and drawing more and more attention. “I remember very well, when a few years ago after the US presidential election, the phenomenon of “Fake News” and its influence began to be discussed in Lithuania. We realized that we had to take the initiative, so the first version of Debunk.eu was launched. The current version of the project is expanding and will become not only DELFI’s initiative, but also an initiative for most of the largest Lithuanian media outlets, the public and the representatives of public organizations to fight fake news. I very much believe that together we will take a step forward in strengthening the statehood,” says Vytautas Benokraitis, Director of DELFI – the main Lithuanian news portal.
About the launch of Debunk! initiative from our partners
On 8th September 2018, at the “Būtent” festival in Lithuania, the Debunk! initiative was presented to the public and discussions about the initiative drew a lot of attention from the participants of the event.
“Disinformation today is spreading through various channels. Publications on social networks may reach extremely large audiences. The question is how to react to it. The aim of this initiative is to unite the largest media and the Lithuanian elves and to use modern technologies in order to fight against disinformation in real time,” – said the director of the initiative Viktoras Daukšas at the discussion.
Funding from DELFI and Google DNI helped launch the Debunk! initiative, which started at the beginning of 2017. After more than a year, it became a separate initiative of national importance, uniting the main media, Lithuanian elves and representatives of the state.
The project is also supported by national StratComs, government officials and society.