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Hello everyone, we hope you enjoyed the holidays!
Your weekly Disinfo Update is back in a brand new format; if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to drop us a message at email@example.com 🙂
Digital priorities for the new Commission
An internal European Commission document was leaked to Politico outlining the next Commission’s potential priorities. This includes a new Digital Services Act (see p.24-25) that foresees ‘an enhanced regulatory structure to ensure oversight, enforcement and cooperation, especially in areas such as illegal and harmful content,’ as well as a ‘duty of care’ for platforms. Yet, nothing is set in stone as any proposals are subject to extensive multi-stakeholder consultation, hence these priorities may materialise into something completely different. Not to mention the Commission has since spoken out to dismiss the document.
Drawing back the veil?
Facebook will now give its users more transparency and control over how their data is shared with third parties. The Off-Facebook Activity tool has only been rolled out in Ireland, Spain, and South Korea thus far, but it will eventually go global. While this sounds promising, critics have been quick to point out that this ‘does not actually delete anything from Facebook’s servers’, but instead simply ‘disconnects’ data from a user’s account. Furthermore, Facebook will not extensively promote this feature, which raises eyebrows since activating the Off-Facebook tool will likely be a niche user activity.
In the news…
- In the wake of Chinese disinformation surrounding the Hong Kong protests and the Uighur minority internment camps, Twitter has announced that it will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities. This is alongside actions taken by YouTube and Facebook to remove Chinese state-controlled accounts.
- Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak resigned last Tuesday over his role in a smear campaign against Judge Krystian Markiewicz – a figure critical of the ruling Law and Justice party’s judicial reforms. During the campaign, an internet troll acted as an intermediary between the Ministry of Justice and pro-government media to post slanderous material online.
- A case study on the Internet Research Agency: an exploration into what happens when politically motivated humans impersonate vulnerable people or populations online to exploit their voices, positionality, and power.
- The BBC takes a peek into the lives of online content moderators, exploring what it’s like to police the internet’s most horrific content.
- In a sample of 200 YouTube videos on climate change, a recent study showed that the majority of these videos either propagated conspiracy theories or denied the human causes of climate change.
- A Latin American perspective for online content moderation processes that are compatible with international human rights standards. This report advocates for ‘progressive regulation’ based on the impact that the measures taken by intermediaries have on the ability to exercise fundamental human rights.
Events and Announcements
- 9 September @ Brussels, Centre for European Policy Studies – Blockchain: hype or solution? Register here.
- See all past and upcoming events in our agenda