As its most important election approaches, the European Union is demanding that digital platforms step up their efforts to combat disinformation, facing heavy fines if they fail to comply. In June, European citizens will vote to elect the new European Parliament. According to Brussels sources cited by UOL, the new rules will also be imposed on Elon Musk’s X platform, which has been a cause for concern for the bloc’s authorities.

Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and X will have to show how they are acting to prevent the use of their networks to spread fake news.

Infringements can result in fines and, in the most serious cases, companies can face penalties of up to 6% of their global revenue.

The actions that the European Union is implementing contradict the narrative that a delegation of Bolsonaro parliamentarians tried to propagate on social media last Wednesday. They stated that, in the European Parliament, they denounced alleged authoritarian practices by Brazil against Elon Musk, including political persecution and threats to democracy.

However, the Bolsonarists did not participate in a plenary session with the entire European Parliament. They presented themselves to a small group belonging to the far-right bloc, which is a minority in the body and echoes slogans common to the international populist right. The delegation that is touring Europe includes parliamentarians such as Eduardo Bolsonaro, Ricardo Salles and Bia Kicis.

European parliamentarians accused Musk of posing a threat to democracy

Currently, the environment between the European Parliament and Musk’s social network is tense and marked by mutual accusations. The European Union had already warned the platform in October 2023 for the spread of hate messages following the October 7 attacks. In December, a formal investigation was launched against the company over suspicions of non-compliance with European regulations on the spread of harmful content.

Now, all companies will need to demonstrate how they will ensure political ads and deepfakes are properly identified. Furthermore, the EU requires each platform to form specialized teams to monitor threats and narratives that could compromise democracy.

Under EU guidelines, platforms must also ensure that their algorithms promote diverse content, which implies that platform X must balance the visibility of right-wing and left-wing candidates. In recent months, reports from researchers have indicated that the platform has favored far-right content.

Last month, the European Union produced a guide detailing what companies could do to comply with its rules. If companies choose not to follow the suggestions provided, they will still need to demonstrate that the measures they have adopted are “equally effective”.

By the end of April, a first “stress test” involving the main digital platforms is planned. Although Musk’s company has distanced itself from an industry initiative aimed at combating threats to the elections, the EU maintains its demand that the company comply with its regulations.

With information from Uol.


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