MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS AND HOME AFFAIRS 1
A free space for all: With social media platforms becoming a breeding ground for the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories online, influencing the offline, is there a new need for censorship? Should digital discourse remain a place of complete freedom of speech or is there a responsibility to be taken up by tech companies themselves or the EU?Submitted by: Costanza Emanuele (IT), Eylül Eren (TR), Benthe Hauzendorfer (NL), Storm Kamerbeek (NL), Annahita Koot (NL), Piet Pankratz (NL), Charlotte Rutte (NL), Tiemen Tolsma (NL), Tatum van Dijk (NL), Paula Vermaas (NL), Maud Wood (NL), Jochem Zandbergen (NL), Gabriele Rimkute (Chairperson IE)
The European Youth Parliament,
- Concerned by misinformation1 and disinformation2 in media,
- Further concerned by the problems arising from the ambiguous difference between the terms misinformation and disinformation,
- Further noting with regret the lack of awareness amongst governmental experts regarding the difference between misinformation and disinformation,
- Deeply concerned by the influence fake news has on citizens’ decision-making process, especially in times of crisis, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic,
- Acknowledging the delicate balance between eliminating fake news and infringing citizens’ right to freedom of expression,
- Realising that social media censorship can become unreliable and biased when unregulated,
- Taking into account the influence of filter bubbles3 on social media users,
- Alarmed by 57% of Member States’ citizens choosing social media platforms as their main source of information,
- Aware of the lack of transparency social media platforms provide to users regarding how their algorithms affect suggested content and censored posts,
- Deeply alarmed by 75% of social media users coming across disinformation campaigns at least once a week;
- Requests Member States to introduce age-appropriate social media education4 by:
- building upon or creating curricula for primary schools,
- incorporating such curricula within existing lessons in secondary schools such as computer studies, civic studies and career guidance courses;
- Encourages the European Commission to continue funding initiatives such as the European Media Literacy Week5;
- Further encourages the European Commission to promote educational events, such as the European Media Literacy Week, aimed at educating senior citizens on media literacy;
- Suggests Member States improve social media literacy by:
- hiring government staff with adequate knowledge,
- providing further schooling to existing government staff;
Regulation of Information in Social Media Platforms
- Supports the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe (AIPCE)6 to further regulate the factuality of news posted on social media;
- Call upon the European Commission to further build upon the Digital Service Act to create a more unbiased algorithm focusing on regulated information;
- Congratulates social media platforms for providing factual sources alongside posts picked up by the algorithm;
Availability of Information
- Invites Member States to ensure the accessibility of traditional media7 as a primary source of information;
- Calls the European Commission to further expand on data protection regulations8 by:
- providing opportunities for users to limit the tracking of their online activity,
- making information available on the workings of algorithms and active censorship;
Requests Member States to fund non-profit organisations such as Disinfolab to limit the spread of disinformation campaigns.
- Misinformation is false information that is released regardless of the intent to mislead.
- Disinformation is misleading information that is spread for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public and may cause public harm.
- Filter bubbles refer to a state of intellectual isolation that can result from personalized searches when a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user.
- An age appropriate social media education would be proposed in a format similar to the ‘Sexuality Education in Europe’ in order to provide comprehensive and centralised resources.
- The European Media Literacy Week is a new initiative by the European Commission to underline the societal importance of media literacy and promote media literacy initiatives and projects across the EU.
- The Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe is a network of independent content regulators for both press and broadcast media.
- Traditional Media is any form of mass communication prior to the Information Age; particularly print media with the opposite being new media.
- The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the EU and the European Economic Area.