The Second Battlefield: Taiwan becomes a victim of disinformation about Russo-Ukraine War

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Taiwan

Publishing organisation: READr

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-03-28

Language: Chinese

Authors: Liu Yi-xin, Lee Yu-Ju, Syu Siang-Yun, Wu Man-Ru, Chien Hsin-chan


READr is not just a data newsroom, it is also a digital innovation team. The development of information news in Taiwan media is still not perfect at present. Although the READr is only a small information newsroom, we still try hard to have an indicative impact on the development of data journalism in Taiwan.

We always hope to make breakthroughs in every topic.Without the framework of traditional thinking, the team can make the report more creative and also keep the news professional by presenting stories in a true and complete way.

Project description:

READr collaborated with Taiwan FactCheck Center to collect nearly 2000 fact-checking reports, manually analyzing them to find cross-border spread of fake information patterns and comparing them to real events that occurred during the war. We also found that when cross-border disinformation spread to different countries, it was further tailored to the unique context of that country, making it more convincing to the audience and becoming a domestic political manipulation tool.

Impact reached:

During the war, the large amount of information about the war created opportunities for the spread of fake information. Taiwan also became one of the battlegrounds of this information war, with disseminators fabricating disinformation about the Russo-Ukrainian War to manipulate Taiwan’s distrust of the United States and deepen their dependence on China. They exposed the pattern of fake information about the Russo-Ukrainian War and raised Taiwan’s awareness of information warfare attacks.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used the R language to scrape and analyze all the data. In order to shorten the production time for the news, we used the online visualization service flourish to produce the small quiz for the beginning of the report.

Context about the project:

During the war, we are faced with the challenge of handling a huge amount of information and determining its accuracy in order to reduce the damage caused by disinformation. Due to our previous experience in dealing with issues related to disinformation, our past experiences and cooperation with international fact-checking centers allow us to speed up the process of verifying facts and produce rapid and accurate reports to combat disinformation during the war.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Information warfare is a predicament faced by many countries, and during the war, the destructive power of these fake information may be even more severe than we imagine. When analyzing fake information, we have developed a method to organize it, and even further focus on how fake information from other countries can affect the minds of Taiwanese people.This report can be a reference template for other journalists dealing with fake information.

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