Event: Disinformation in EU elections: The role of social media & technology trends

At the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the European Union

21 October 2019, 9.00-18.00

How have social media changed our ways of interacting and communicating? And what is their impact on public discourse, the media landscape, and our democracies? The COMPACT symposium brings together policymakers, academics, NGOs, and other stakeholders to discuss ways to make social media and our democratic discourses more resilient to extremism and disinformation, especially in regard to elections.

The European Elections in May 2019 have been viewed as a potential target of foreign influence, but also as susceptible to the spread of false information and misleading political advertisement from actors within the EU. While traditional national electoral legislations formulate rules about political advertisement, these rules were developed in a traditional media environment and may not be fit for a changing social media landscape. This conference would like to debate whether the set of measures proposed by the European Commission in advance of the elections has been successful. Further, we will discuss what else could be done to make sure our electoral system, social media legislation, and online political advertisement are fit for the digital century. We will present preliminary findings from the COMPACT project which is mapping technological, regulatory, and policy developments in social media and content convergence. The aim of the COMPACT project is to raise awareness about emerging legal, policy, and technological developments, and increase the understanding of how the convergence of those trends influences media and society.

Programme:

9.00 – 9.30       Networking welcome coffee

9.30 – 9.45       Keynote speech

H.E. Peter Javorčík, Ambassador of Slovakia to the European Union (tbc)

9.45 – 11.00     Panel 1: What lessons can be learnt from disinformation in the European Elections? How effective were the measures taken?

11.00 – 11.15     Coffee break

11.15 – 12.30     Panel 2: What types of threats? Misinformation, disinformation, hacking – who are the players and what to do about those threats?

12.30 – 13.30     Lunch break

13.30 – 15.00    Panel 3: Discussion of COMPACT findings: Overview of regulatory initiatives and suggestions in Europe and beyond in the area of “Information disorder and social harms”

15.00 – 15.15     Coffee break

15.15 – 16.30     Panel 4: Role of social media platforms: How can data reliant platforms act responsibly?

16.30 – 17.00    Wrap up & lessons learnt: Do we need harmonised European electoral laws? Do we need an agency for democracy?