Will trolls or truth win in the European Parliament elections?

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Will trolls or truth win in the European Parliament elections?

Deutsche Welle

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Will trolls or truth win in the European Parliament elections?
Will trolls or truth win in the European Parliament elections?. picture-alliance/AP Photo/G.V. Wijngaert
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It appears the EU has only belatedly woken up to the fact that its upcoming parliamentary elections could become the target of Russian influence — in a similar fashion to Moscow’s ambitious attempts to distort the democratic process in the US in 2016.

It took two more years for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to declare the moment had finally arrived to “bring our election rules up to speed with the digital age to protect European democracy.”

That was just eight months before the vote. It would be another two months before the EC released its “action plan”outlining efforts to increase awareness, communication, funding and monitoring plus creating an alert system to share tips on cross-border disinformation campaigns.

Online giants on-board

As part of the plan, Facebook, Google and Twitter agreed to take action such as speeding up the removal of fake accounts and incorporating more fact-checking — faced with the threat of being forced to do so by new regulations if their performance is found lacking.

Read more: Is Facebook doing enough to combat fake news?

Lutz Guellner, head of strategic communications for the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS), said the EU has no reason to “hide and to be ashamed” about the timing of its initiative. “It’s a collective decision that we need to take together with the member states in terms of how much we want to invest in this,” he told DW. “Now it’s important to piece all these elements together with the member states. That’s the only way forward.”

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