The Project

MEDIAWISE wants to focus on countering disinformation and other forms of interference in the democratic debate, empowering citizens to make informed decisions by helping them identify disinformation and promoting media literacy.

In particular, MEDIAWISE project general objective is to foster active European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at EU level by raising citizens’ awareness of national and EU level initiatives to counter fake news and online disinformation.

While the project specific objectives are:

  • Gathering information and citizen’s opinions in order to better understand their Internet usage and interaction with fake news, to help the sharing of good practices and improve the definition and measurement of disinformation.
  • Contributing to a better understanding of the fields of media literacy and critical thinking within the European perspective through citizens engagement at European level.
  • Outreaching to EU citizens and raising awareness about fake news in Europe today and their impact on democracy.
  • Stimulating an active debate with citizens at European level to foster a better understanding of different perspectives.

To whom is addressed MEDIAWISE?

Access to smartphones, affordable Internet connectivity and various social media platforms allow users to manipulate false information and rumors. Particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic, the number of fake news has been increasing.

However, a recent (2020) study, appeared in the Current Directions in Psychological Science, showed that adults over the age of 65 are more than seven times more likely than younger adults to engage with fake news, a relatively sizable margin.


The study assumes that the most immediately obvious explanation for this discrepancy is the fact that older adults are not digital natives the way millennials and Gen Z-ers, are, even though people of all ages struggle to keep abreast of updates to social networks and apps. While misinformation tends to skew right-wing and older adults also tend to be more conservative, that only partially explains the phenomenon as well, there are people sharing misinformation all over the political spectrum.

In general, it is possible to say that older people tend to have increasingly smaller social networks as they get older, as well as fewer of what are as “weak ties,” or peripheral acquaintances (think that Facebook friend you went to camp with when you were 14 but haven’t seen in person in 15 years).

As they’re navigating social media and see news shared by people in their network, older adults might assume they can trust it because they have a short list of people they follow and they have close relationships with people, whereas we might come to our timeline more skeptical.

They also are less aware of the role algorithms play in surfacing content in news feeds, and how that shapes what you see as you scroll.

On the other hand, young adults, who definitely are digital natives, in these hard times, despite being

confident of being able to distinguish fake news from real news, are having difficulties to differentiate between verifiable news and fake news that is shared to mislead the readers, making them an easy target for intentional information misuse.

So, MEDIAWISE target groups will be:

  • adults aged +65 (without any gender restriction);
  •  young people aged 18-30 (without any gender restriction).

In this way, the project by empowering these two important groups of citizens to make informed decisions by helping them identify disinformation and promoting media literacy wants to contribute to reach this call’s priorities and objectives.