“The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations demonstrated exactly how personal data can be exploited in electoral contexts and are a timely reminder that more is needed to secure resilient democratic processes,” says the European Commission.
In light of the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations, the European Commission has proposed a new set of measures to tackle the manipulation of online information, as well as an EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation.
The idea is to promote media literacy and support an independent network off fact-checkers, according to a communiqué issued by the commission on 26 April 2018.
“The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations demonstrated exactly how personal data can be exploited in electoral contexts and are a timely reminder that more is needed to secure resilient democratic processes,” the communiqué stated.
Based on the independent report published in March 2018 by a high-level group on fake news and online disinformation, as well as wider consultations carried out over the past six months, the commission defines disinformation as, "Verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm".
In the latest Eurobarometer survey, 83% of respondents said that fake news represents a danger to democracy. Respondents were particularly concerned by intentional disinformation aimed at influencing elections and immigration policies.
The survey also emphasised the importance of quality media: respondents perceive traditional media as the most trusted source of news (radio 70%, TV 66%, print 63%). Online sources of news and video hosting websites are the least trusted source of news, with trust rates of 26% and 27% respectively.
The measures proposed by the European Commission are:
A Code of Practice on Disinformation,
An independent European network of fact-checkers,
A secure European online platform on disinformation,
Enhance media literacy,
Support for member states to ensure the resilience of elections,
Promotion of voluntary online identification systems,