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European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO)

The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) is a project that supports the independent community working to combat disinformation.

The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) serves as a hub for fact-checkers, academics and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate with each other. It encourages them to actively link with media organisations, media literacy experts, and provide support to policy makers. This helps to coordinate actions in the fight against disinformation.

The activities of EDMO are based on 5 strands:

  1. mapping fact-checking organisations in Europe and supporting them by fostering joint and cross-border activities and dedicated training modules.
  2. mapping, supporting and coordinating research activities on disinformation at  European level, including the creation and regular update of a global repository of peer-reviewed scientific articles on disinformation.
  3. building a public portal providing media practitioners, teachers and citizens with information and materials aimed at increasing awareness, building resilience to online disinformation and supporting media literacy campaigns.
  4. design of a framework to ensure secure and privacy-protected access to platforms’ data for academic researchers working to better understand disinformation.
  5. support to public authorities in the monitoring of the policies put in place by online platforms to limit the spread and the impact of disinformation.

EDMO will build its main features in two phases. The first phase will focus on the deployment of a core service infrastructure and will define the governance rules of the Observatory. The second will establish EDMO national and regional digital media research hubs across the EU.

The second phase of EDMO has started with the launch of 8 hubs funded with more than €11 million through the Connect Europe Facility, which will help implement and expand the work of EDMO. Their aim is to put in place actions to increase EDMO’s capacity of tackling harmful disinformation campaigns at national and EU level, and analyse their impact on society and democracy. The hubs have been selected after the launch of the second call for proposals to extend the reach of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) in June 2020.

Governance

EDMO is managed by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The consortium includes the company Athens Technology Center from Greece, Aahrus University from Denmark, and the fact-checking organisation Pagella Politica from Italy.

EDMO has a governance structure completely independent from public authorities, including the European Commission. The governance structure is made up of an advisory board in charge of defining the functioning rules and the strategy of the Observatory and an executive board responsible for implementing the contract in consultation with the advisory board.

Background

The creation of the Observatory is one of the elements in the Commission’s detailed action plan against disinformation, published in December 2018. The plan aims to reinforce capabilities and strengthen cooperation between Member States and the EU in 4 key areas:

  1. improving detection
  2. coordinating responses
  3. working with online platforms and industry
  4. raising awareness and empowering citizens to respond to disinformation online

The Commission launched the second call for proposals to extend the reach of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) in June 2020. The second phase of the project funds the creation of national and multinational digital media research hubs across Europe with €11 million through the Connecting Europe Facility.

The Commission launched the first call for tenders for the creation of the European Digital Media Observatory in 2019. A consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence won the call for tenders, which includes up to €2.5 million.

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