Disinformation on refugees from Ukraine

Disinformation on migration series

Policy Study


Boosting Europe’s resilience after Russia’s invasion

This Policy Study examines all these challenges posed by disinformation, as well as the actions taken to address them. It examines which disinformation actors spread false claims about Ukrainian refugees and how. It sheds light on why migration-related disinformation is so pervasive and how disinformation narratives change over time and space. It also examines which audiences are more susceptible to online disinformation.

Despite increasing efforts to address disinformation the EU institutions, national governments and civil society still struggle to overcome the challenge. Disinformation actors are able to spread lies quickly and widely by adapting their messages to the news cycle, and while appealing to their readers’ emotions and concerns. They set the tone of the conversation ahead of everyone else.

Russia’s war on Ukraine caused the fastest and largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II, and soon the EU became the epicentre of an information war.

A large share of disinformation relating to the war in Ukraine concerns refugees. This disinformation depicts migrants and refugees as a threat to Europeans’ health, wealth and/or identity, appealing to people’s anxieties.

Why did the refugees from Ukraine become the target of large-scale disinformation? Who is spreading it, and on what channels? Can false and misleading stories undermine the welcoming reception and public support shown to Ukrainian refugees? Download the Policy Study to find out.

This Policy Study is part of the ‘Disinformation on migration’ series created in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and European Policy Centre (EPC) to help make sense of the disinformation trends relating to refugees. This series also includes:

European Policy Centre (EPC)
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