EESC calls for mandatory measures on online platforms to counter disinformation

Social media platforms should become more responsible and stick to strict rules. The Committee agrees with the European Commission that this would represent a great leap forward in tackling disinformation. However, the Commission proposal lacks practical steps to achieve these objectives. In the opinion put together by Martin Siecker and adopted at the EESC plenary session on 19 September 2018, the EESC urges the Commission to approve compulsory measures.

The growth in organised disinformation from various state and non-state actors poses a real threat to democracy, as the proper functioning of a democratic system is built on well-informed citizens who make choices on the basis of reliable facts and trusted opinions.

One of the major problems with disinformation is that it is virtually impossible to check the identity of the sources throughout the web. On top of that, people and organisations who operate in cyberspace with malicious intent use a fake identity. "Technology is not good or bad, but it can be used in a good or a bad way. It depends on who is behind it," said Mr Siecker. "This is why we have to fight against disinformation on the same basis and tap into the potential of new technologies to inform people safely and correctly," he concluded. (mp)