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By Rikki Lieb, Program Associate Volunteer at Global Ties Arizona

Tomáš Kriššák is leading the fight against propaganda, disinformation, hate speech, and other negative externalities that have emerged through social media and other internet sources in Slovakia.

For over a year, Tomáš has been working for Slovakia’s Open Society Foundation, along with writing blogs for the online media site, Dennik N. Together with several journalists and digital experts, he has also worked hard on creating an app to identify and filter disinformation online. His tenacity and forward-thinking got the attention of local diplomatic officials, and, earlier this year, he was chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s IVLP exchange.

Tomáš, along with a few of his colleagues, traveled to the United States as part of the #BeBest IVLP group whose focus was on strategies for combating cyberbullying. During his time abroad, Global Ties Arizona was fortunate enough to host Tomáš over a productive five day period, which included; Meeting with local Representative Raquel Teran to discuss legislative initiatives related to bullying, addiction, and child welfare, touring the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, and meeting the minds behind the ASU Bully Blocker App. Mr. Kriššák showed particular interest in ASU’s Bully Blocker App, which is a student-developed automated cyber-bulling identification tool for social networks available through a mobile app, and was able to takeaway many ideas for development and implementation of his own app back in Slovakia.

Since his visit to Arizona, Tomáš has been developing project HOPE (Hall of Positive Engagement http://projekthope.sk/). Project HOPE is a set of tools, developed in Slovakia, that helps citizens become members of initiatives tackling negative consequences of the internet and social media such as cyber bullying and propaganda.

One monitoring tool that Tomáš has implemented is https://blbec.online/. This tool is free to use and monitors over 1000 active sources of disinformation and propaganda in Slovakia. The hope is that this information will be useful for advertisement companies in preventing these sources from buying ads on major platforms like Facebook and Google.

“I believe that we are entering new age of active liberal democracy that can bring astonishing positive change not only to Slovakia but to the whole connected world of tomorrow.” – Tomáš Kriššák

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