EU has proof of Russian disinformation activity targeting elections

EU has proof of Russian disinformation activity targeting elections

Friday, June 14, 2019 4:48 pm

European Union headquarters

The European Union has gathered evidence of Russian “continued and sustained” disinformation activity aimed at curbing voter turnout in May’s European elections and influencing voter preferences, its executive announced on Friday.

EU officials, ahead of May’s European Parliament elections, warned of Russian interference, and the bloc bolstered its capacities to track fake news and debunk disinformation.

The European Commission wrote in a report evidence collected in recent months has revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences.

“However, the available evidence has not allowed us to identify a distinct cross-border disinformation campaign from external sources specifically targeting the European elections.

“Malign activities ranged from challenging the EU’s democratic legitimacy to exploiting divisive debates on issues such as migration,’’ the report said.

It cited the example of the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was used by malicious actors to illustrate the alleged decline of Western and Christian values in the EU.

The commission said its efforts, which include signing up internet giants Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla to a voluntary code of conduct, had helped reduce the amount of disinformation appearing online.

The report found out more must be done though.

“The tactics used by internal and external actors, in particular linked to Russian sources, are evolving as quickly as the measures adopted by states and online platforms,’’ the commission wrote. (dpa/NAN)

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