Eight months ahead of the European Elections, more needs to be done to ensure that the elections are not subject to the same malicious interference that affected the US elections or Brexit campaign.
That was the message from S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann in a meeting of political leaders in the European Parliament today:
“It is now almost six months since the revelation that 50 million Facebook profiles had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica to be used for political purposes. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s promises that Facebook is doing everything in its power to ensure this can never happen again, we still have not seen enough real action to protect our citizens and our democracies. We urge Facebook to outline how exactly they are going to act to ensure that there is no attempt to manipulate the European elections next year and how they are acting to stop the spread of fake accounts.
“Following pressure from the S&D Group, the Parliament will put forward its own conclusions on the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica scandal next month. This report follows our meeting in May with Mr Zuckerberg and a series of hearings with relevant experts, journalists and whistle-blowers over the summer.
“As well as calling for internet platforms to do more, Europe also needs to act. We were pleased that the European Commission finally came forward with proposals yesterday to better protect our democracies from online manipulation. However, we are concerned that these proposals will not be in effect ahead of the European Elections next year. We have called for the relevant European Commissioner Věra Jourová to come to the Conference of Presidents to give more details on the proposals and explain how they plan to bring them into force ahead of the 2019 elections. We will also ask for more concrete measures to stop the spread of fake news on social networks.
“Lastly, national governments must adopt the e-privacy regulation as soon as possible. The right to privacy of communication is a fundamental right and our current laws are not adequate for the way we communicate in the digital age. The European Parliament backed strong new proposals earlier this year and we now urge national governments to do the same.
“We have only eight months until the European Elections. If we are going to ensure that they can truly be called free and fair then we need to take action now.”