How is the EU combatting disinformation?
As well as causing direct harm to individuals, as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation poses a global threat to open and democratic societies. The European Union is working to overcome the challenges of disinformation through a multifaceted approach including projects and actions to increase media literacy, as in the digital education action plan for example, which will be updated within the coming month, and within Horizon Europe, the EU's next research and innovation framework programme.
The ETF is working together with our partner countries to develop digital skills and competence, which also means developing media literacy, an important element in being able to identify disinformation and to engage skillfully, securely and democratically in our increasingly digital world.
Fighting misinformation, which is the unintentional spread of falsehoods, and disinformation, which is intentional and coordinated manipulation, creates many challenges in the era of social media and online platforms. Efforts need to be coordinated with all relevant actors, from institutions to social platforms, from news media to single users. Researchers, independent journalists, and fact-checkers have been at the forefront of monitoring, analysing, and reporting about disinformation.
Disinformation erodes trust in institutions and in digital and traditional media and harms our democracies by hampering the ability of citizens to take informed decisions. It can polarise debates, create or deepen tensions in society and undermine electoral systems, and have a wider impact on European security. It impairs freedom of opinion and expression, a fundamental right enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.