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8: Bot-savvy Finns

8: Bot-savvy Finns

Finland has a particular source of propaganda to deal with in the shape of Russia. Misinformation attacks have focused on familiar issues like immigration and the EU, but also Finland’s application to join NATO. Now the Finns have devised a strategy to teach all social groups to spot fake news and fact-check. This includes lessons in community colleges, digital literacy toolkits and a critical thinking curriculum in schools. As a result, online interference by Russia in Finnish politics appears to have waned.

Now other countries are looking to learn from Finland’s strategy.

Jussi Toivanen is a former adviser to the Finnish PM on media literacy and was recently appointed Head of Communications at Finland’s National Cyber Security Centre. He believes the country’s cyber security success is due to something deeper; it is a cohesive ‘superpower’ – a society with high levels of trust in institutions and the media, plus a strong sense of identity rooted in human rights and the rule of law. He offers an unexpected insight – ‘the first line of cyber defence is the Kindergarten teacher’…

We also hear from Chris Silver – a researcher and PhD student on memory and the Scottish press – and Claire Elazebbi, a member of the Scottish Government’s cyber security team. 

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