A European approach to the digital transformation

The European Commission’s digital strategy is out, which outlines how the EU intends to provide more transparency on the ways in which information is shared and managed online, strengthen the responsibility of platforms, and clarify rules for online services. As part of the policymaking process, the Commission will open a consultation on the Digital Services Act in March. 

Among its digital priorities, the Commission also released a White Paper on AI favouring a human-centric approach to AI, which encompasses greater oversight, algorithmic transparency, and ethical requirements to mitigate risks to fundamental rights. An online consultation on the White Paper is now open. 

Finally, the Commission’s new data strategy aims to provide fair and clear rules on data access and explore ways to achieve a European Dataspace by making more non-personal data available and giving citizens better control over their AI-generated data. An online consultation on the strategy is now open.

Online content regulation: Facebook weighs in

Zuckerberg’s meetings with European Commissioners last Monday apparently didn’t go too well. Internal market Commissioner Thierry Breton told reporters “It’s not for us to adapt to this company, it’s for this company to adapt to us” after meeting with Zuckerberg. On the same day, Facebook released its white paper on online content regulation, later regarded as “not enough” by Breton. In this context, Facebook outlined five principles for regulators to take into consideration: incentives, the global nature of the internet, freedom of expression, technology, and proportionality and necessity. Protocol has summarised what Facebook actually means by this paper.

In the news

Good reads

  • DFRLab looked into the legacy of Stratcom — a South African government communications department active during the Apartheid — to understand how South African political actors play on the country’s history of disinformation and propaganda to sow media distrust among the public today.
  • QAnon followers have deployed an information warfare campaign to influence the 2020 US election by spreading memes, generating hashtags and creating sockpuppet social media accounts to support Donald Trump’s reelection. “They build lists of hashtags to target, generate content and memes relating to the day’s political developments, and share advice about how to create new social media accounts with plausible fake personas,” Wired’s Elise Thomas writes.


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