The old continent could impose new rules on the giants of the online world to comply with when it comes to election campaigns.
The debate about how the platforms and big names in the online world should be confronted with political advertising is also set to light up in Europe. We have written about the issue in recent days following the somewhat surprise announcement from Twitter: via the electoral campaign from the social network. The competitor Facebook doesn’t seem willing to do the same, appealing for freedom of expression to explain the choice to continue to host almost any kind of campaign.
In Europe, new rules for political advertising
Yesterday, the editors of CNBC report a statement attributed to Vera Jourova (European commissioner for justice, consumer protection and gender equality) from which emerges the desire to introduce new rules with the aim of clearing the field of the risk of abuse. Direct reference to what happened in the past years with the Cambridge Analytica case. These are his words, collected at the Lisbon Web Summit.
Our task is to introduce rules capable of protecting the decision-making process of those who vote. We do not want the elections to become the competitive ground for Cambridge Analytica-style methods, keeping them safe from dirty money and unclear intentions.
The watchword is transparency: there is no intention to ban online election campaigns, but anyone will have to be able to get information about who funded the advert, who runs the operation and what interests are represented.
Social network and electoral campaign: new rules
Jourova’s will is clear: set the rules, dictate the impositions that social networks like Twitter and Facebook will have to comply with. However, it will have to be done without a step in the hand, without showing the side to the risk of censorship.
I am personally very reluctant to propose rules that somehow establish what the truth is, who will be the judge and how we should sanction a lie. I don’t want to contribute to creating an Orwellian world.
Just last week, Twitter, Facebook and Google sent the European Commission a report detailing the progress made over the past year in terms of fighting fake news, implementing that voluntary code of conduct that has been signed for more than a year now does to counter the phenomenon of disinformation. The authority of the old continent recognizes the commitment made so far, emphasizing however that there is still much to do.