Home Technology E.U. Law Sparks Clash Over Disinformation: Setting the Stage

E.U. Law Sparks Clash Over Disinformation: Setting the Stage

E.U. Law Sparks Clash Over Disinformation: Setting the Stage

Slovakia has become a breeding ground for disinformation and harmful content on social media platforms as the country approaches its upcoming election. False claims, misleading information, and manipulated images have been circulating widely, posing a significant challenge to the democratic process. However, a new EU law called the Digital Services Act may hold social media giants accountable for hosting and popularizing such content. The law aims to push these platforms to adopt stricter policies and practices to combat misinformation, and its success could potentially influence similar changes worldwide, including in the United States.

One particular instance of disinformation involved a Facebook page in Slovakia called “Som z dediny” (I’m from the village), which propagated a debunked Russian claim that the president of Ukraine had secretly purchased a vacation home in Egypt under his mother-in-law’s name. The spread of false information is not limited to politics, as evidenced by a post on Telegram that falsely claimed a parliamentary candidate had died from a Covid vaccine, despite the candidate still being alive. Additionally, a far-right leader shared a doctored image on Facebook, adding an African man wielding a machete to a photo of refugees in Slovakia.

Despite the challenges posed by disinformation, the Digital Services Act offers hope for a solution. This law could hold social media platforms accountable by imposing fines of up to 6 percent of a company’s revenue if they fail to address harmful content. By pushing these platforms to adopt new policies and practices, the aim is to curb the routine hosting and popularization of corrosive content. If successful, the impacts of this law could extend beyond Europe, potentially bringing about changes in company policies worldwide, including in the United States.

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