PREVENT – Training approach to convey measures to prevent digital disinformation campaigns

Fake news and disinformation are an ever-growing problem, and social media in particular are heavily affected by the phenomenon. Fake news and conspiracy theories make it difficult to form opinions and can damage the cohesion of our society and trigger social unrest.

Security authorities, such as the police or the fire brigade, enjoy great trust from society, but often do not know how to counteract this disinformation in a targeted manner. This is where the project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) comes in. The results of the project should help security authorities to take targeted action against disinformation campaigns.

In the joint research project "Prevent", scientists are investigating why this phenomenon occurs, which people (groups) are behind it and how this disinformation can be recognized and differentiated. The aim is to develop individual, coordinated and automated preventive measures, which are then to be evaluated by the team with regard to acceptance by the security authorities and ethical and legal criteria. In addition to the University of Paderborn, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Cologne, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and Virtimo AG are also involved in the project.

Project duration: 01.01.2021 – 31.12.2024


INNO4S: Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development

With the advancing digitization and a growing striving for sustainability, two mega trends are currently shaping the global discourse in politics, business, and society. These trends are also reflected in the mission statements and goals of universities and higher education.

The junior professorship for Information Systems, esp. Digital Society, develops and creates digital teaching/learning opportunities to promote the digitization offensive as part of the research project. The project addresses the increasing need for teaching materials at the interface between these mega trends. The aim is to anchor the topics of sustainability, digitization, and innovation in business courses in order to be able to support the global pursuit of sustainability through digital innovations.

On the content level, case studies based on the 17th Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) are developed, which are used to show the innovative power of digital technologies for overcoming the major challenges of our time - e.g. poverty, climate change and gender equality. At the same time, behavioral and economic theories are introduced and deepened, which give the students an understanding of the dynamics underlying the case studies. At the execution level, teachers are able to adapt the content to different target groups (bachelor's/master's) and formats (small groups/large events). This is achieved by providing content in various formats (e.g. as a set of slides, in the form of video clips or as materials for independent development) and together with curricula and examination drafts that are appropriate for the target group and format and are based on the guiding principles for education for sustainable development (BNE) orient, are made available.

The project partners are the Professorship for Digital Innovation and the public sector of Prof. Dr. Tobias Brandt from the Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster and the professorship for innovation management and entrepreneurship from Prof. Dr. Mona Mensmann from the University of Cologne.

Project duration: 01.08.2022 – 31.12.2024


Natural Hazards

Analysing Social Media Use during Natural Hazards: Improving Crisis Communication

Australia has a very changeable climate, but climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events in recent decades. Bushfires, floods and heatwaves have occurred on an unprecedented scale. In the event of such natural disasters, the public needs reliable information about the situation and recommendations for action to protect themselves. Such information is not only disseminated via traditional channels, but also via social media, the necessity and effectiveness of which has been confirmed by various studies. Germany is also increasingly feeling the consequences of climate change, such as the flood disaster of July 2021, rising temperatures and a shift in the timing of seasonal events. With the prospect of more frequent and severe natural disasters, this project addresses the need for efficient and targeted information dissemination in situations that pose a risk to the general public.
The project draws on the experience and expertise of scientists at Charles Darwin University and Paderborn University. The strategy to be developed will improve the ability of authorities and organizations with emergency management responsibilities, such as police, fire and government agencies, to effectively manage sudden climate-related events.

Project duration: 01.01.2023 – 31.12.2024


CYLENCE - Development of media strategies and tools to combat cyberbullying and hate messages in investigative and law enforcement agencies

Cyberbullying and the spread of hate messages are increasing social problems, exacerbated by the use of social media. In 2023, about 14% of the German population was affected by cyberbullying at least once, and exposure to hate messages shows an annual growth rate of about 10% over the last five years. Although there are numerous awareness and reporting campaigns, there is no comprehensive solution that is integrated into everyday applications. The "CYLENCE" project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to develop strategies and tools to optimize the integration of cyberbullying awareness and prevention information into everyday technologies. The aim is also to create a precise picture of the situation for investigating and prosecuting authorities. The project enables cross-media reporting of incidents by citizens via various communication channels, automatic detection of potential cyber abuse cases in public social data sources and visual analysis for early identification and prioritization of cyberbullying and hate messages. In addition to the University of Bamberg, the Technical University of Darmstadt, the University of Potsdam and Virtimo AG are also involved in this project.

Project duration: 01.08.2023 - 31.07.2026



ARTIMIS – Understanding Social Media Users’ Perception of AI-Generated Misinformation

Through facilitating information research and text generation, generative AI could be an assistance in the dissemination of information. However, its ability to easily and quickly generate persuasive misinformation could also become a threat, creating unprecedented public confusion.

Despite misinformation research gaining considerable attention, at this point, most of it focuses on solutions detecting or debunking misinformation and neglects misinformation prevention techniques. Hence, this research project aims to make users more resistant and resilient to generative AI misinformation, preventing its effects from the outset.

In Collaboration with the University of Melbourne, the researchers from the University of Bamberg aim to generate a deeper understanding of generative AI misinformation to assess its impact and effects on the individual user, guiding the development and deployment of generative AI in broader society. After all, the research project intends to guide authorities and organisations in identifying different types of generative AI misinformation, understanding how social media users perceive it, and increasing their resistance and resilience to it.

Project duration: 01.01.2024 – 31.12.2025