Opinion Factsheet  

Contrastare la disinformazione online: un approccio europeo

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Opinion Number: CDR 3908/2018
Rapporteur: 
Group: EPP (European People's Party)
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 06/02/2019
 
Highlighting that the threat posed to democracy by fake news and disinformation is a common threat to all levels of government: Cities and regions are often the first levels of government to feel these impacts and they are in an excellent position to implement media literacy campaigns to prevent the dissemination of fake news and disinformation. Therefore, the role of cities and regions must be considered in implementation of any strategies to counter fake news and disinformation.
Outlining the role of local and regional authorities
Addressing the threat of fake news and disinformation within the EU and its Neighbourhood
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

- emphasises the fact that, in the near future, the vast majority of information will be disseminated through online channels and social media might be the main medium used to convey such information to people, particularly in western countries: it is already the case that more than half of all Europeans use social networks every day or two or three times a week;

- points out that the effectiveness of these disinformation campaigns is vastly increased through access to detailed personal information on social media users, obtained through or bought from social media, that can be used to personalise the disinformation shown, thus maximizing its effect;

- warns that social media's current operating mechanisms, more than those used by any other information channel, are conducive to the spreading of falsehoods: various academic studies have shown that false information appearing on Twitter, for example, is as much as 70% more likely to be shared by the user ("retweeted") than accurate information;

- points out that the risk of disinformation affects democratic societies and institutions at all levels; the targeted dissemination of online fake news can have just as damaging an effect on the local community (and political processes including European, national and local elections) as on countries as a whole; countering disinformation must therefore be a priority ahead of the European elections both for European institutions and social media networks to ensure free and fair elections;

- notes that the main players on the social media market – with the support of the European institutions – are currently focusing their efforts on combating disinformation by means of the "self-regulation" of social media platforms and their voluntary cooperation with external bodies (e.g. fact-checking organisations) and state institutions; social media platforms must invest greater efforts in countering fake news, including flagging, fact-checking, and actions to close fake accounts, dedicating sufficient resources to monitoring information flows in different languages in all EU Member States. In addition, social media platforms should promote the concept of "verifying" user accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, so as to guarantee that they are trustworthy and ethical sources;