Nowadays, technology and especially social media, have accelerated the spread of disinformation. The European Commission states that “disinformation distorts, distracts and dismisses the truth”, as some people use it as a “weapon to affect public opinion, create divisions in society and undermine trust in public institutions and electoral systems”.
Currently, the European Union is taking serious action to tackle disinformation, by:
1.Creating the EUvsDisinfo public database
Since 2015, EUvsDisinfo’s goal is to increase public awareness and understanding of disinformation cases, and to furthermore help citizens to develop resistance to digital misinformation and media manipulation.
2.Protecting the integrity of EU elections
The State of the EU mentions that ‘ensuring the resilience of the Union’s democratic systems is part of the Security Union’. The Union has undertaken a set of measures that protect personal data, guarantee the transparency of the political ads seen online and tighten cybersecurity.
The EU has developed a series of tailored campaigns in several EU countries, debunking the local variations of certain EU-related myths, called ‘Euromyths’, like Bolas de Bruxelas in Portugal, Slovakia’s ‘Euromyty’ and the German initiative.
4.Monitoring misleading stories across borders with the Rapid Alert System
Rapid Alert System is a digital platform which allows EU institutions and Member States to facilitate the sharing of insights related to disinformation campaigns and to coordinate their responses.
5.Establishing the EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation within online platforms
Leading internet companies like Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have signed a voluntary EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation, to apply stricter policies and community guidelines, to remove fake and bot accounts and to provide more clarity regarding political ads.
6.Organizing distinguished events that promote media literacy
The EU has set up the annual European Media Literacy Week to highlight more than 320 events promoting media literacy across Europe. The European Commission also recognises projects like Lie Detectors that encourage schoolchildren to think critically.
7.Empowering civil society to both identify and expose disinformation
The EU encourages NGOs and citizen-run organizations to identify and expose online disinformation. One such initiative is the volunteer-based project Keyboard Warriors in Poland.
8.Facilitating the work of fact-checkers by investing in content verification platforms
EU has invested in new technologies that verify content and track the spread of disinformation across social media, such as the web-based collaboration platform Truly Media, co-developed by Athens Technology Center and Deutsche Welle.
9.Creating campaigns that raise citizens’ awareness on disinformation’s negative effects
As the European Commission mentions on Medium ‘when citizens are aware about the positive impact of the EU’s policies and values on their everyday lives, they also become more resilient to the negative effects of disinformation’. With communication campaigns like InvestEU, EUandMe and EU Protects, the EU informs citizens about their rights and how it protects them against disinformation.
10.Supporting media freedom and pluralism for a healthy democracy
EU respects the freedom and pluralism of the media as well as the right to freedom of expression. Disinformation can be exposed by supporting independent media and investigative journalists that produce high quality news reporting.
Discover how the ordinary heroes are protecting you against disinformation!