Co-Inform at OSCE 2019 International Migrants Day

Authors: Francesca Zuccotti, Digital Marketing & Communications Lead at Scytl

On behalf of the Co-Inform Consortium Nadejda Komendantova, Research Scholar at IIASA Advanced Systems Analysis Programme, was invited by the OSCE Secretariat to provide a statement about the influence of misinformation on migration based on findings from the Co-Inform project.

OSCE 2019 International Migrants Day on “Advancing Human Capital Development through Migration and Innovation” was organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. The event, which took place in Vienna on 18 December 2019, aimed to discuss innovative ways to harness the potential of migrants for economic development, including by maximizing the positive impact of new technologies for human capital development.

The event was addressed to the delegations of the OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, as well as experts, practitioners, policymakers, economic and social partners, civil society representatives and academia, active in the field of migration governance. Among speakers were Ambassador Radomír Boháč, Slovak 2019 OSCE Chairmanship; Ambassador Thomas Greminger, OSCE Secretary General; Ambassador Igli Hasani, incoming Albanian 2020 OSCE Chairmanship; Michael Shotter, Director for Migration, Protection and Visa, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), European Commission; Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, a.i. Regional Director United Nations Development Co-operation Office, Europe and Central Asia; and Çağlar Özden, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank.

Nadejda Komendantova discussed the impact of misinformation about migration in Austria. Misinformation has existed for a long time, but nowadays new technologies and social media facilitate the spread of misinformation, which has the potential to lead to social conflicts. Misinformation can influence perceptions about and attitudes towards migrants. As a recent large scale survey has shown, Europeans tend to over-estimate the proportion of immigrants living in their country by 10% or more. While this is not an acute problem in Austria yet, it could soon escalate due to the proliferation of a right-wing nationalistic discourse that social media helps to amplify.

Co-Inform is dealing with the problematic and aims to develop tools to address the spread of misinformation on social media. Prototypes of the tools were tested at the second round of workshops that took place in Austria, Sweden, and Greece in November 2019. Stakeholders’ expectations and recommendations were collected for further development of the tools that will be tested at the third series of the workshop taking place in mid-2020.

Co-Inform mission is to foster critical thinking and digital literacy. 

Academic surveys have shown that online misinformation is becoming more difficult to identify. Online misinformation has the potential to deceive even readers with strong literacy skills. Our goal is to provide citizens, journalists, and policymakers with tools to spot ‘fake news’ online, understand how they spread, and obtain access to verified information. 

* This is an edited version of the article that first appeared on

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Co-Inform Copyright 2021

Co-inform project is co-funded by Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)
Type of action: RIA (Research and Innovation action)
Proposal number: 770302

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