Fake news online, the EU raises the barricades

The European Parliament it expressed itself with a large majority: it is necessary to avoid that the fake news disseminated online can become an effective weapon for the predatory policies of foreign countries that, by spreading false information through bots and social networks, manage to destabilize, divert and eventually control the election results.

Only this year, the Parliament notes in its report, have already been detected 998 cases of disinformation of Russian origin: these are so many little crazed informative bullets that, fired into the crowd of social networks and search engines, are able to strike effectively. With what effects? This would be another matter and everything to be verified, but that the EU seems to want to take for granted: disinformation is not only a deviant phenomenon, but it would also be used with precise aims as a political and economic instrument.

Foreign electoral interference is a threat to European democracies and the only ones to benefit are anti-EU movements and extremist and populist forces.

Russian disinformation scares the EU

MEPs say they are extremely concerned about the "highly dangerous nature of Russian propaganda", the main source of disinformation in Europe. The cases of fake news attributes to Russian sources have in fact more than doubled since January 2019 (998) compared to the same time frame in 2018 (434). Furthermore, the resolution strongly condemns the "increasingly aggressive actions" carried out by state and non-state actors from third countries that seek to compromise the sovereignty of all the candidate countries for EU membership in the Western Balkans and in the Eastern Partnership countries .

In the vote of the European Parliament there is also a direct reference to Italy, as the analysis also deals with the issue of illicit financing because the common thread between the two areas is Russian intrusion in European affairs:

The text also refers to the cases reported by Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung against the Austrian Freedom Party, by Buzzfeed and L’Espresso (10 July 2019) against the League for Salvini Premier and complaints by the British press about the Leave.EU campaign.

The European Parliament, in particular, has deliberated with 469 votes in favor and 143 against the strengthening of the East StratCom task force in order to monitor and stem the Russian invasion through this continuous, subtle and massive campaign of fake news. More funds and more powers to the task force, in short, by virtue of an alarm that is becoming stronger and that could threaten the correct balance of information on political issues.

Social media are also invited to cooperate in the fight against disinformation, without compromising freedom of expression, while the EU should develop a legal framework that can cope with hybrid threats (cyber attacks and disinformation).

The European Parliament also recalls how by 2020 there will be at least 50 votes on the whole European context, a situation that makes the continent particularly exposed to this type of attack: a digital cold war, in short, with the European Parliament completely convinced of being at the mercy of the factory of bots and contents of pro-Russian matrix. War in the face of which the EU intends to raise its own barricades, although at the moment it does not seem clear what it really intends to do other than to finance in a more substantial way the task force responsible for controlling the situation.

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