Cyberattacks, Cyberconflicts and International Security
New Technologies and Risks to Online Security
Round Table - 60 Min
Moderators will ask to speakers to illustrate the EU policy developments on tackling disinformation, such as the Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation and the Digital Services Act (DSA). In addition, EDMO will highlight its role in acting as a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholders platform to support and coordinate activities between relevant experts communities. During the dialogue, speakers will explore the current EU policy measures, the different stakeholders involved and the importance of acting at different levels when tackling disinformation and will discuss how EU has to react towards social media that eventually will not comply with EU prescriptions. The invited speakers will represent the EU institutions, the online platforms (industry), the academia and experts community (EDMO), and the civil society organizations.
Some of the speakers will participate from remote and so the meeting will be hybrid. Only the key note speaker will be allowed to have a presentation, all others speakers will answers to questions. Moderators (on site and remote) will maximize the interaction between the onsite panelist and the remote ones, and between panelists and the audience on site and remote. the meeting will be promoted within the constituencies of the participants (academia, technical community, regulatory boards, civil society) in order to stimulate remote participation and Q&A from remote. Tools for trigger remote participation, such as Menti.com will be used and social media tools such as Mastodon to collect the question to raise to participants
Erik Lambert, Eurovisioni, civil society, WEOG group Giovanni Zagni, Pagella Politica, media, WEOG Group
Esteve Sanz, Head of Sector, Internet Governance and Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue EU Commission (government); Albin Birger, Team Leader "disinformation", EU Commission; Paula Gori, Secretary General of EDMO (Academia and Technical Community) ; Giovanni Zagni, director Pagella Politica (media industry) and chairman EDMO Task Force on EU elections 2024; Stanislav Matejka, Chair of the ERGA Sub-group 3, on disinformation (regulatory authority), Caroline Greer, Tik Tok , Director of Public Policy & Government Relations.
moderator: Giacomo Mazzone (WEOG) (Civil society)
Paula Gori - EDMO
Erik Lambert - Eurovisioni
Targets: Targets 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
An efficient fight against disinformation at elections times requires a framework for a large cooperative between the different stakeholders, a continuous monitoring of the phenomena, and rules for transparency in the different processes. A “big stick” against those who don’t want to play along the rules is also very useful. In case of non-respect of the rules, EU Commission can issue warning letter to fines up to 6% of the global turnover.
Concerning the coming European elections, EDMO set up a specific task force which has three areas of activity: - the past, i.e. reviewing old electoral campaigns to identify the different strategies - the present, i.e. an evaluation of the main risks, country by country - the future, i.e. how to better prepare the network for the coming campaign.
Under the guidance of the Commission, EDMO has created a task-force covering all EU countries and all EU languages with the involvement of a broad set of stakeholders to carry out a risk assessment, monitor and report on mis/disinformation trends, and increase cooperation between the stakeholders.
One of the new challenges is generative artificial intelligence, which can amplify intentional disinformation campaigns: a human centric approach needs to clearly separate human from artificial output. Therefore, AI production will not have copyright or have free speech rights, and will need to be clearly identified (watermarking).
IGF 2023 Town Hall #162 How prevent external interferences to EU Election 2024
Esteve Sanz in Kyoto and Albin Birger from Brussels, the representatives of the European Commission, stressed that disinformation is false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain and which may cause public harm. It is not the Commission’s aim to create a ministry of Truth, but to make the online environment more transparent and its actors accountable, to empower citizens, and to foster open democratic debate. One of the new challenges is generative Artificial Intelligence, which can amplify disinformation campaigns: a human centric approach needs to clearly separate human from artificial output. Therefore, AI production will not have copyright or have free sch rights, and should be clearly identifiable (identifying the effective way to do so, for instance through watermarking, remains a challenge).
They also presented the articulation of the different EU’s initiatives (regulatory and other) and institutional set up to fight against disinformation:
- under the DG CNECT, Regulations have been developed and are now in place at EU level (Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act); The 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation was strengthened in 2022, empowering industry to adhere to self-regulatory standards to combat disinformation. The Code of Practice aims to be transformed into a Code of Conduct under the DSA (to constitute a risk mitigation tool for Very Large Online Platforms, while remaining voluntary); and the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) has been set up to support the creation of a cross-border and multidisciplinary community of independent fact-checkers and academic researchers.
- under the European External Action Service different strands of work aim to foster international cooperation, to increase situational awareness and coordinate response to Foreign Information Manipulation & Interference (FIMI), including with partner countries, e.g. a Rapid Alert System between EU Member States’ administrations the creation of the EUvsDisinfo database or that of a FIMI “toolbox”.
- the DG COMM, provides for internal Commission coordination and factual communication on EU policies, through monitoring and analysis of related areas,, with an accent on debunking false narratives (e.g. climate change disinformation), and through the promotion of media literacy initiatives.
Specific situations also call for targeted and coordinated actions, e.g. the imposition of EU sanctions on state owned outlets suspending RT and Sputnik’s broadcasting in the EU.
In view of the coming 2024 elections, specific initiatives have been put in place to further cooperation between the different actors:
- within the framework of the Code of Practice there is a Working Group on Elections, with a focus on the activities of the signatories and the facilitation of exchange of information between them
- under the guidance of the Commission, EDMO also has created a task-force covering all EU countries and all EU languages with the involvement of a broad set of stakeholders to carry out a risk assessment, monitor and report on mis/disinformation trends, and increase cooperation between the stakeholders.
Stanislav Matejka, representative of the ERGA, explained that the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services functions as an expert body, which is also tasked to provide the Commission with essential evaluation of the local implementation of the Code of Conduct, the local respect of the transparency obligations. It coordinates the work of the local authorities to monitor the effective implementation of the European policies in these matters (e.g. the access to data), and handles the repository of political adverts.
Paula Gori, Secretary General of EDMO stressed the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach of the phenomena of disinformation, which required expertise in numerous fields, from emotion analysis to computing, etc. In that sense, EDMO should be considered as a platform offering tools to the experts from the different fields, from fact-checkers to academic research, without forgetting the fundamental promotion of media literacy.
Giovanni Zagni, representative of a member of the network of fact-checkers and chair of the EDMO task force on elections, explained how their work has evolved from the sole analysis of content (which nevertheless remains an important part). For example, they set up a specific task force on Ukraine which led to 10 recommendations to policy makers; they produce a monthly brief on the tactics of disinformation.
Concerning the coming European elections, EDMO set up a specific task force which has three areas of activity:
- the past, i.e. reviewing old electoral campaigns to identify the different strategies
- the present, i.e. an evaluation of the main risks, country by country
- the future, i.e. how to better prepare the network for the coming campaign.
Caroline Greer, representative for TikTok, expressed the support of the company for fact-checking.
Concerning the coming elections, TikTok has a global election integrity program, with a template that is applied to local circumstances. This includes:
- specific election policies
- community guidelines
- a full prohibition of political advertising (at all times)
- a restriction of certain political activities such as funding campaigns
- local “election hubs” that inform citizens about - for example - where to vote, ecc.
Eril Lambert, from Eurovisioni in Rome, express appreciation for the role attributed by the European Union to civil society in the mechanisms to fight disinformation and raised several questions to the representatives of the EU and of the platforms. In response to different questions on line and in the room, it was precised that the voluntary Code of Conduct was only one tool to demonstrate compliance with European rules. The objective is to bring disinformation into light, through transparency – the Commission often launches investigations, and the DSA has now added an auditing layer to the instruments at its disposal. Take downs by platforms with their motivation and eventual appeal; have to be sent to a Commission database.
In case of non-respect of the rules, the Commission has several means available such as warning letters and imposing (large) fines up to 6% of the global turnover.
It was also indicated that what is important to improve collaboration between platforms, authorities, and institutions such as EDMO, e.g. to facilitate access to platform data on behalf of researchers.
Transparency of recommending algorithms systems is also an issue. TikTok for example allows the user to reset its recommendations to avoid to remain locked in a filter bubble, or to refuse a personalized feed.
The conclusion was that an efficient fight against disinformation requires a framework for a large cooperative between the different stake-holders, a continuous monitoring of the phenomena, and rules for transparency in the different processes.
A “big stick” against those who don’t want to play along the rules is also very useful.