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 Full text 
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Protecting the integrity of the European elections, with particular regard to international threats to cybersecurity (debate)

  Claude Moraes, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I welcome the measures the Commissioner has taken. He’s worked hard on this issue, but this is a very tough issue. Electoral interference is proven, it’s happened and it’s going to happen again. And there is a sense of urgency in all of this. When the Commission followed up Parliament’s calls on a code of conduct to stamp out the spread of fake news online and reported on the code of practice against disinformation, we looked at the progress and we saw that the Commissioner warned that Facebook still has 116 million fake accounts on its platforms. We really can’t control this spread unless we really use the tools that we have, so there is a sense of urgency.

Signatories to this: it’s not just Facebook, it’s Google and Twitter, and we know that the Commission will follow up this work and we really need to act as a team to ensure that this happens. But this is about online and offline actions. This is not just about cybersecurity. So online, we have called for full algorithmic accountability and transparency. This is essential for citizens to be able to protect themselves against any manipulation and to protect our electoral processes from foreign interference. We also have to look at how political parties and campaigns are using social platforms for campaign purposes.

Offline: we have to have electoral safeguards, such as rules on transparency and limits to spending, respect for silence periods, equal treatment of candidates, banning of profiling for electoral purposes, and social media platforms should label content shared by bots and speed up the process of removing fake accounts.

Offline and online is important, but we also need to ensure that we understand that the General Data Protection Regulation is not the only model for protection. We may need to end the deadlock on e—privacy regulation to ensure that the rights of citizens, especially regarding the protection of users against targeting, are protected. So, we need to think about what we do about Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, using all of the tools we have here in the European Union.

There are three regulators in the world: China, the United States and the European Union. I am in the European Union. I want the EU to act on foreign actors interfering in our elections. What is more important than that as we enter the European elections?

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

Last updated: 9 July 2019Legal notice