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EU stärkt Abwehr gegen Desinformation im Vorfeld der Europawahl: Ein umfassender Kampf für Demokratie

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European Elections: EU Bodies Prepared to Fight Disinformation

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EU institutions are actively participating in the defense of the European elections scheduled for June 6-9, against disinformation and the manipulation of information aimed at undermining democracy within the EU.

European elections hold a pivotal position in the democratic framework of Europe. As reported by the European Digital Media Observatory, there are entities both within and outside the EU attempting to compromise the election process's integrity, erode trust in democratic systems at large, and fuel societal division and polarization. According to a Eurobarometer survey, a significant majority of EU citizens, 81%, believe that news or information that distorts or misrepresents reality poses a threat to democracy.

Efforts to mislead the citizens

Organisationen, Verwaltungen, Mitglieder der Zivilgesellschaft und Fact-Checking-Organisationen, darunter die European Digital Media Observatory, das European Fact-Checking Standards Network und EUvsDisinfo, haben in den vergangenen Monaten viele Fälle identifiziert und bekannt gemacht, in denen versucht wurde, Wähler durch gefälschte Informationen zu täuschen.

Actors spreading disinformation have disseminated erroneous details about election processes, deterred voters from casting their ballots, or aimed to create division and polarization ahead of elections by exploiting high-profile or divisive issues. These deceptive efforts often involve flooding the information space with a barrage of false and misleading content to stir and intensify public discourse. Top politicians and leaders frequently find themselves at the center of these manipulation efforts. Various policy areas in Europe, including support for Ukraine, the European Green Deal, and migration issues, regularly face the brunt of these disinformation campaigns.

Actors spreading misinformation have also utilized networks of fake accounts and counterfeit or imitated media outlets to skew the information landscape. Recent disclosures by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the domestic agencies of EU member states have highlighted operations known as "False Facade," "Portal Kombat," and "Doppelgänger."

In a recent research report titled "Operation Overload" by the Finnish software company Check First, it was revealed that dubious accounts reached out to over 800 fact-checkers and media outlets across more than 75 countries. Their aim was to inundate them with misleading information, drain their resources, and coerce them into spreading the incorrect information by publishing debunking articles.

EU Institutions: Increased Efforts to Shield the EU from Information Manipulation

While threats persist, the EU has also found collective responses. Operating under a clear mandate from political leaders, EU institutions have been tackling the challenge of information manipulation and foreign interference, including disinformation, for years.

Diese Initiativen werden in enger Kooperation und Abstimmung unter den beteiligten Einrichtungen durchgeführt, wobei auch eine Vielzahl weiterer Beteiligter wie EU-Mitgliedsländer, Medienunternehmen, Fact-Checker und zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen miteinbezogen werden. Ziel ist es, Wissen zu teilen, Erfahrungen und erfolgreiche Strategien auszutauschen und gemeinsame Reaktionsweisen abzustimmen.

Als führende Kraft im Kampf gegen Bedrohungen, die durch die Verfälschung von Informationen und ausländische Eingriffe entstehen, kooperiert die Europäische Union (EU) eng mit ähnlich gesinnten internationalen Partnern. Dies geschieht unter anderem über Plattformen wie dem Krisenreaktionsmechanismus der G7. Zur Verbesserung ihrer Fähigkeit, sich gegen solche Eingriffe zu wehren, hat die EU spezifische Werkzeuge und Strategien entwickelt. Diese umfassen Maßnahmen zur Erkennung von Gefahren, den Aufbau von Abwehrkräften, gesetzliche Regelungen und den Einsatz diplomatischer Mittel. Bei all diesen Anstrengungen legt die EU besonderen Wert darauf, ihre grundlegenden Werte, einschließlich der Freiheit der Meinungsäußerung und der Pressefreiheit, zu wahren.

Unsere ganzheitliche Antwort auf die Verbreitung von Falschinformationen stützt sich auf folgende Kernpunkte:

The institutions of the European Union have supported a range of efforts, including awareness-raising campaigns and media literacy programs, aimed at enhancing societal resilience to disinformation and the manipulation of information. Examples include:

New EU Legislation Enacted

Während der aktuellen Amtszeit wurden von den Gesetzgebern bedeutende Regelwerke verabschiedet, darunter das Digital Services Act (DSA), das Künstliche Intelligenz-Gesetz (AI Act) und das Gesetz zur Transparenz und zum Targeting politischer Werbung. In der vorherigen Amtszeit widmete sich ein Spezialausschuss intensiv der Thematik der ausländischen Einflussnahme auf sämtliche demokratische Vorgänge innerhalb der Europäischen Union, einschließlich der Verbreitung von Falschinformationen. Der Ausschuss und sein Nachfolger empfahlen, dass die Bekämpfung dieser Herausforderungen einen gesamtgesellschaftlichen Einsatz erfordert, der auch nichtgesetzliche Maßnahmen umfasst.

Das neue Digital Services Act (DSA) verlangt von Online-Plattformen, potenzielle Gefahren für Wahlprozesse, einschließlich Falschinformationen und durch künstliche Intelligenz erzeugte Inhalte, zu identifizieren und zu reduzieren. Dieses Gesetz ist bereits vollständig in Kraft und wird von der Europäischen Kommission besonders bei sogenannten "sehr großen Online-Plattformen" angewandt, also jenen, die in der EU mindestens 45 Millionen Nutzer oder 10% der Bevölkerung erreichen. In diesem Rahmen hat die Kommission Verfahren gegen Unternehmen wie X und Meta, einschließlich deren Dienste Instagram und Facebook, aufgrund potenzieller Verstöße gegen das DSA, die die Wahlintegrität betreffen, eingeleitet. Bezüglich der Präventionsmaßnahmen veröffentlichte die Kommission im März 2024 Richtlinien für Wahlen, die Plattformen an die notwendigen Schritte zur Regelkonformität erinnern. Im April 2024 führte die Kommission auch einen freiwilligen Stresstest mit den betroffenen Plattformen, der Zivilgesellschaft und nationalen Behörden durch. Die Kommission befindet sich in einem kontinuierlichen Austausch mit diesen Plattformen, um eine effektive Anwendung und Befolgung des Digital Services Act zu gewährleisten.

For more details, please refer to the background information provided.

Contact:

Delphine COLARD

Peter STANO

Thomas REGNIER

Additional Information

Reference

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