Tendr: European Digital Media Observatory (core service platform of a digital service infrastructure serving fact-checkers and academic researcher with expertise in the field of online disinformation)
Zadavatel: European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
Budget: €2.500.000 / doba trvání kontraktu: 30 měsíců
The subject matter of the contract is to provide core service platform of a digital service infrastructure which will serve fact-checkers and academic researcher with expertise in the field of online disinformation, and open to collaboration with media organisations and media literacy practitioners. DSI will deploy a platform to bring together fact-checkers and academic researchers with expertise in the field of online disinformation, and open to collaboration with media organisations and media literacy practitioners. In order to contribute to a deeper understanding of the relevant actors, vectors, tools, methods, dissemination dynamics, prioritised targets and impact on society, the DSI will advance the development of an EU market of fact-checking services, increase the scientific knowledge available on online disinformation and support public authorities in charge of monitoring digital media and developing new policies.
In order to achieve the objectives of this DSI, this call for tenders tender has the purpose of purchasing services for:
1. The set-up and operations of a secure online platform supporting the detection and analysis of disinformation campaigns and providing public information to raise awareness about disinformation;
2. The creation of a DSI governance body which ensures public trust regarding the work of the platform and establish a framework to provide secure access to online platforms’ data for research purposes;
3. Support and coordinate independent fact-checking activities in Europe, including the mapping of fact-checking activities in Europe and the creation of searchable directories aggregating fact-checks and media literacy material from external repositories;
4. Support and coordinate academic research activities on disinformation in Europe including the mapping of relevant academic research capabilities in Europe and the creation of a repository with relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature on disinformation;
5. Support policy activities to tackle the disinformation phenomenon, including the monitoring of the implementation of the Code of Practice.
Tasks: Minimum requirements should be as:
I. Set-up and operate an online platform
a) Infrastructure, resources, services and tools supporting the detection and analysis of disinformation campaigns;
• Provide an infrastructure composed of all hardware and software components needed for the platform to be operational and connected to the Internet. Such infrastructure will be located in the Contractor’s own premises, or in cloud services protected by in depth security and encryption by default which allow monitoring and recording access for audit and control purposes. The infrastructure must meet this set of minimum security requirements:
o Access to the platform should include the option for 2-step-authentication and have the ability to inform users by email about login sessions from a different device. The possibility to use the eID14 system as one of the login services, must also be implemented by Month 6;
o The infrastructure must use end-to-end encryption and all requests should be sent on top of SSL (HTTPS);
o The backup policy must enforce at least a backup on a daily basis for all the data stored in database;
o Uptime of the infrastructure and services must be monitored and uptime report or an uptime log file from the hosting server(s) must be provided quarterly. The uptime is expressed as the percentage of the time that the service was operational for a selected period of time.
• Integrate in to the platform state-of the art tools and services for fact-checking actitivies (including where necessesary the acquisition of third party software licenses) able to:
o Facilitate the identification of relevant and trending news content published and shared on the Internet and on major social media platforms. The system should include tools to exchange information and allow joint fact-checking activities;
o Facilitate the verification of online content (text, audio and visual), including deepfakes, and analysis of its diffusion online also through the use of machine learning and natural language processing tools;
o Expedite joint fact-checking activities and peer-review of fact-checks. Such activities should be facilitated by the use of integrated real-time translation tools. The CEF eDelivery Building Block15 will be, by the end of the contract, integrated into the platform as one of the means for secure communication;
o Facilitate the production and online distribution of news articles resulting from fact-checking activities;
• Integrate state-of the art tools and services for academic research activities (including where necessesary the acquisition of third party software licenses) enabling data analysis and network-oriented analysis capable of functionalities such as: extracting a graph representation, community-detection, identifying the key-players of an input graph based on relevant indicators, tracking and visualizing the path travelled by a specific news piece through sharing, mentioning, retweeting, and other forms of information forwarding in social media.
• Integrate access to the public and/or open data repositories such as but not limited to:
o European Union and international institutions databases (e.g. Eurostat, EU Open Data Portal, European Parliament repositories, OECD repositories, etc.)
o Member States databases (e.g. national statistical offices)
• Integrate access through specific APIs to online platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google) data16.
• Following platform’s users feedbacks and taking into account financial limitation, other tools and services, initially not foreseen, might be integrated into the platform.
All tools accessible through the platform must have an interface accessible to non-expert users.
b) Web portal open to the public to raise awareness about online disinformation
• Establish and promote a web portal for the general public. The portal will provide access to fact-checks educational resources and materials in support of awareness raising campaigns (a minimum of 500 items such as website links, media literacy campaign material items, news articles, scientific papers, policy documents) must be listed and made directly accessible through the web portal, where possible, during the contract period. Access to the content made publicly accessible should also be facilitated by a user-friendly search option. The contractor, with the support of the governing Board, must continuously and systematically review and update the material included in the directories of fact-checks and media literacy and in the repository of scientific articles. The content of the web portal will be promoted through social media activities.
c) Daily operation of the core service platform including the portal
• The contractor should supply and operate the physical infrastructure (equipment) and software, and provide the related service management tasks for the duration of the contract; and undertake further developments to enhance its functionalities taking into account suggestions from the Board and users to the extent possible.
• The contractor will ensure that the platform and its functionalities, including the web portal, are available at all times and that in case of failure, full functionality of the platform will be restored within 6 hours. The platform user interface should be able to deal with a minimum of 1000 user sessions per day and at least 150 simultaneous sessions at each time.
• The web portal should be expeditiously activated after the signature of the contract (at the latest) and the contractor should maintain the portal including hosting and service management for the duration of the contract, and undertake regular updates of the content and further developments to enhance its capabilities. These enhancements will be guided by an analysis of the portal’s usage statistics as well as input from platform’s users, portal visitors and other stakeholder groups. The portal infrastructure will include a mechanism for systematically probing for broken links. The contractor will define a procedure for the timely repair of broken links.
• The language of the users’ interface of the core service platform will be English. The web portal interface will be multilingual (at least 6 EU languages, including English). The main functionalities of the platform will be accessible through mobile devices (smartphones Android/iPhone and tablet computers), through a mobile browser version of the site and/or app.
• The contractor must document the process which would allow a third party (e.g. future providers of the core service platform) to redeploy the entire platform (both its functionality and content) in a new environment when the contract is completed in month 30.
d) Training and outreach activities
• Provide a minimum of at least 20 training modules for users on topics agreed by the community of practice of fact-checkers and academic researchers as well as government officials;
• Provide regular exchanges of information and good practices by organising regular webinars involving platforms users and 1 day face-to-face meetings every year, in an easily accessible European location for hands-on training and for collecting users’ feedback on the technical implementation of the platform. The venue and catering for at least 70 persons/users of the platform attending the meeting should be clearly indicated. The contractor will need to communicate the output to the Commission in a written report within 15 days of the completion of the event.
• Support interaction with the whole community by organising the following annual pan-European events and campaigns, employing, where appropriate the support of qualified sub-contractors with proven expertise in events management:
– Tackling Online Disinformation Annual Conference which will bring together participants representing platform users, the research community, media literacy experts, government and industry to share ideas and discuss new trends/issues during a 1 day event in Brussels. The timing, venue, agenda and speakers to be decided in due course in agreement with the EC.
Promotion and dissemination of the results of platform activities by publication of quarterly electronic newsletters on emerging trends and issues, and a user-friendly annual report including relevant statistics aggregated at European level, showing the impact of activities hosted on the platform.