The European Union must work harder to tackle the spread of disinformation on the internet, the Open Knowledge Foundation has warned. In a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, chief executive Catherine Stihler has called for action to be ‘prioritised’ regarding online platforms that fail to do enough to tackle disinformation or do not fulfil promises made.
She said ‘no sufficient progress has been made in developing tools to increase the transparency and trustworthiness of websites hosting adverts’, and Google and Twitter need to take steps to ensure the transparency of issue-based advertising. The letter comes after disinformation was discussed at last month’s European Council summit.
Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:
“Words are not enough in this battle to build a fair, free and open future.
It is essential that the European Commission prioritises action regarding online platforms that fail to do enough to tackle disinformation or do not fulfil promises made.
I firmly believe the institutions of the European Union must use their influence to force online platforms to provide more detailed information allowing the identification of malign actors, put pressure on Google and Twitter to increase transparency, and encourage closer working with fact checkers to prevent the spread of disinformation.
The best way to tackle disinformation is to make information open, allowing journalists, developers and the research community to carry out analysis of disinformation operations.
With upcoming national elections across the EU, this is of paramount importance to help rebuild trust in politics and build a fair, free and open future.”