The German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF) is funding ten new research projects on recognizing, understanding and combating disinformation on the Internet with a total of 15 million euros over three years. On the occasion of Safer Internet Day this week, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger presented the funding priority “Detecting and Combating Digital Disinformation Campaigns”.

The L3S project “FakeNarratives: understanding narratives of disinformation: a comparison between public service and alternative news videos” is also funded. The project is a collaborative project in which researchers from the L3S research center are conducting research on narratives of disinformation in news broadcasts and alternative information videos together with colleagues from the University of Bremen (coordination) and the University of Leipzig. The project is funded with nearly one million euros.

“Targeted disinformation through fake news has become an increasing threat to our democracy and society, especially on the Internet and in social media,” says Bettina Stark-Watzinger. “I want to get to the root of the evil of fake news and advance the fight against disinformation through targeted research funding.” The BMBF is therefore funding ten new, interdisciplinary projects that comprehensively research the phenomenon of fake news and other forms of disinformation in order to develop effective countermeasures.

The aim of the FakeNarratives project is to conduct detailed research into how narratives of disinformation work in public service news broadcasts and alternative information videos. An interdisciplinary mix of methods will be used, including discourse analysis, linguistic analysis, research methods from the digital humanities, and pattern recognition methods using machine learning. Based on these findings, semi-automatic approaches will then be developed and integrated into a digital tool that can systematically reveal mechanisms and strategies of narratives of disinformation and allow the derivation of effective countermeasures on the basis of a large-scale media analysis. The findings are to result in concrete proposals for solutions and handouts for the creators of public news broadcasts, which will help to avoid unwanted narratives of disinformation and neutralize disinformation campaigns.

Details on all ten funded projects, as well as a short video on the project, can be found at