Eight European leaders urge big tech to fight disinformation more effectively

  • 2023-03-30

PRAGUE - The CEOs of the largest social media companies must fight disinformation more effectively, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity), along with seven other European prime ministers, wrote in an open letter that warns against using platforms to incite riots, violence, and spread propaganda.

The prime ministers of Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania also signed the joint letter.

According to the leaders, tech platforms have become “virtual battlegrounds” used by hostile foreign powers to spread false narratives. They also emphasized in the letter that all “our” countries are under attack in an “information war”, with Moldova at the forefront.

“Foreign information manipulation and interference, including disinformation, is being deployed to destabilize our countries, weaken our democracies, to derail Moldova’s and Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and to weaken our support to Ukraine amid Russia’s war of aggression,” the eight prime ministers warned.

“Paid ads and artificial amplification on Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, are often used to call for violent social unrest, bring violence to the streets and destabilize governments. Big tech companies should be vigilant and resist being used to advance such goals,“ the letter adds.

Leaders are calling on the CEO to increase cooperation with governments, civil society, independent media and other actors to stop spreading propaganda that promotes war. Moreover, they recommend platforms refrain from accepting payments from sanctioned individuals.

“Algorithmic designs should prioritize accuracy and truthfulness over engagement when promoting content. They also must be more transparent,” the prime ministers wrote.

In the letter, they also advise platforms to ensure that deep fakes and texts written by AI should be clearly marked and call for a global approach to big tech regulation.