Author Archives: Ruairi Harrison

Ruairi Harrison

About Ruairi Harrison

Ruairí Harrison is a junior research assistant at RENFORCE, working primarily under Professor Sybe de Vries and Professor Linda Senden. Following his Bachelors of Law degree in Trinity College Dublin in 2019, Ruairí graduated from the European Law LLM at Utrecht University in 2020. Now working at the UU law faculty, he has continued to build upon his core areas of interest in EU law, including fundamental rights, gender equality and the Digital Single Market. Ruairí’s LLM thesis dealt with “Freedom of Expression & The Regulation of Hate Speech in the EU’s Digital Age” and he hopes to release further publications on the EU’s regulation of online disinformation and hate speech into the future.

Disinformation: The EU Commission’s response to the Covid-19 infodemic and the feasibility of a consumer-centric solution

By Ruairi Harrison

As conversations around the globe concerning the issue of online disinformation gather gravity and frequency, it is tempting to view disinformation as a 21st century problem. Yet this phenomenon can be traced back to Octavian’s grappling for power in the turbulent post-Caesar Civil War period. Here, the first Roman Emperor manipulated information concerning his first adversary, Marcus Antonius, using brief rhetorical notes engraved on coins and circulated around Rome. These notes painted his rival as a drunk, a womaniser and a headstrong soldier incapable of ruling an empire. They ultimately proved their effectiveness in gaining the public’s support and their simple, accessible form and message could be compared to a modern day ‘Tweet’. Think Trump calling the mail-in ballot system into disrepute in a series of easy-to-read tweets devoid of evidence. 

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