Online disinformation ahead of the European Parliament elections : towards societal resilience
Title: Online disinformation ahead of the European Parliament elections : towards societal resilience
Series/Number: STG Policy Briefs; 2019/03
Few would disagree that fake news, the most visible part of the war of disinformation, represents a real and present threat for our societies. On one hand, the debate on disinformation encompasses a spectrum of information types. From low-risk forms of click-bait to intentional attempts to corrode trust in our democracies, the latter sometimes by means of techniques that are extremely sophisticated and based on well-orchestrated plans by foreign states and local groups. On the other, accusations of fake news are frequently hurled indiscriminately and have themselves become a tool of delegitimisation, as different sides attempt to impose their own narrative. And, paradoxically, the more fake news is discussed, the greater societal problem it is felt to be. This undermines trust in all media and instils the idea that it is impossible to know what is true and what is not. It is this distrust that is especially detrimental to the fundamental role of media as a pillar in our democratic societies. These challenges need to be taken on board and addressed ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections. If we believe that an informed citizen underpins democracy, then these issues require action. But what action exactly?