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Combating disinformation, particularly in the context of elections

PACE today expressed its concern about the spread of disinformation campaigns aimed at shaping public opinion, trends of manipulation and foreign electoral interference process, and hate amplification on the internet and social media. In particular, it is concerned about the growing phenomenon of data-driven electoral campaigning on social media, based on segmentation and profiling of users.

To address these challenges, the Assembly recalled the relevance of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. The parliamentarians also stressed the need to improve the internet’s content and architecture, to invest in quality journalism and to preserve media and political pluralism, especially in the context of elections.

The resolution adopted today by PACE, based on the report by Frithjof Schmidt (Germany, SOC), proposes a series of measures to member States, including promoting media education and digital literacy skills, encouraging collaborative fact-checking initiatives, and ensuring adequate funding for independent public service media. The adopted text also calls for greater transparency in political online advertising and for specific regulatory frameworks for internet at election times.

PACE also expressed its support for the Venice Commission to “prepare a list of principles for the use of digital technologies in the context of elections”.