In Poland, more than half of Internet users encounter disinformation at least once a week. It is particularly often directed against Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees – according to the European Commission’s report on the lies and manipulation that reach social media in Europe. The Russians are primarily behind this.
Destroying the reputation of Ukrainian refugees, for example by accusing them of crimes, is one of the main goals of the Russian disinformation campaign in Poland. This is one of the conclusions presented in an extensive report by the European Commission on disinformation, mainly Russian, on the European Internet.
– The Russian state has engaged in a war of ideas to pollute our information space with half-truths and lies, to create a false image that democracy is not better than autocracy, said Viera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission.
The Commission’s report focuses on how technology giants – Google, Microsoft, Meta and TikTok – fight disinformation. Numbers speak volumes about the scale of the problem. From January to April alone, YouTube closed over 400 channels spreading disinformation sponsored by Russian troll factories. Google removed ads from 300 propaganda websites and rejected offers from 140,000 suspicious advertisers. TikTok and LinkedIn each removed over 6 million fake accounts.
The deputy head of the European Commission, Viera Jourova, called on the giants to take further action to solve the problem – especially in the pre-election period. In 2024, there will be elections to the European Parliament, on October 15 to the Polish Sejm, and on September 30, Slovakia will vote. – Poland and Slovakia differ on the effects of Russian propaganda in these countries. Slovakia was chosen as the country with the most fertile ground for the effective dissemination of pro-Kremlin and pro-war views, Jourova adds.
The European Commission, which has been fighting disinformation for years, is pointing the finger at one company that has the most to do in the fight against disinformation. This is website X – formerly known as Twitter. A report by the European Commission shows that among the social media available in Europe, the platform owned by Elon Musk has the highest percentage of posts containing disinformation. The Commission points out that X, unlike other technology giants, does not apply the code of conduct developed by Brussels in the fight against disinformation. And that is why Russian propagandists are most active on this platform.
In May, Elon Musk withdrew from the agreement of 44 internet companies that signed the EU code of conduct against disinformation. – Twitter is treated as a very large internet platform and this results in obligations imposed by hard law. So my message to Twitter is: you have to follow the hard law, and we will watch it, Jourova emphasizes.
The Code of Good Practice provides for, among other things, verifying and removing obviously false and harmful materials, labeling political advertisements and content generated by artificial intelligence, and finally, the so-called demonetization of false content – so that its creators cannot make money from it.
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