France, Macron’s party launches plan against disinformation

A plan against disinformation and fake news, in view of the upcoming presidential elections in France. Preparing it for Lrem, La République En Marche, the party of French President Emmanuel Macron, is a quartet of party members, including Renew Europe MEP Sandro Gozi, Italian but elected in France. Information, Lrem’s executives note, has “become a weapon in a real war of conditioning and destabilization”. And in this struggle, “the advantage goes clearly to those who distribute disinformation, as fake news spreads on Twitter six times faster than real news.” According to a Viavoice poll last month, “63% of French people say they are concerned about the risk of foreign intervention in our democracy”. These are not unfounded concerns, given that, the authors of the plan observe, “some countries would spend up to 1 billion euros to manipulate information”. These interventions in the digital space, “orchestrated by foreign powers and with support in France, seek to favor or disadvantage certain candidates and to destabilize our democracy”. We must therefore “act now” to “preserve the presidential elections and the ballots that will follow”. Lrem’s exponents then formulate sixteen recommendations to “re-equip our democracy and strengthen trust between citizens and political groups”, on the eve of “attacks from abroad which, we know, are inevitable”. “fake news beacon”, a platform on which citizens can report fake news, as well as make it mandatory to identify ‘deepfakes’, counterfeit videos indistinguishable to the naked eye from authentic ones, with a “visible brand”. Furthermore, we must “ask the platforms to implement measures to mitigate and limit the virality of harmful content” to conduct an “evaluation” of the Fake news law of 2018 “in view of the upcoming elections” to draw up a “black list” of sites that they spread “false information”, to ensure the “transparency” of their financing through advertising. In the electoral period it would then be necessary to “break” the vicious circle created by algorithms, which tend to offer users “continuously the same kind of content and ideas”, in order to ensure users “pluralism” of content. It would also be appropriate to “regulate” the electoral campaign carried out on social networks, as well as “encourage platforms to favor reliable sources of information”. It is also recommended that people be better “sensitized” to the “digital risks”, making generalized tools in France that are now optional such as the ‘permis Internet’, a prevention program that raises awareness and equips minors to face the Internet with awareness of the risks. . It would also be advisable to “provide training on digital risks to anyone who requests it”. It is also advisable to communicate, through “prevention messages”, both on social networks and on television. At European level, a “mutual support” mechanism should be created between Member States in the event of a cyber attack, through a dedicated European fund, a European Cyber ​​Police Corps and a European Cyber ​​Attack Structure. The “collective response” to cyber attacks should then be organized “at the European level”, MEPs underline. It is also recommended to prevent, with an EU law, the financing of political parties “by foreign powers”, or to oblige the parties to report when they are approached by a foreign power in order to provide electoral “assistance”. Donations in cryptocurrencies, which make it impossible to track money, should also be banned. The French parties should then be called upon to “take precautions and take action against interference and manipulation of information”. Finally, Lrem should promote an “international mobilization conference” on these issues of progressive parties, in order to “exchange good practices” and encourage “common action” against these “new threats”.

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