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 Full text 
Wednesday, 5 April 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – towards an EU response (debate)

  Marietje Schaake (ALDE). – Mr President, when addressing fake news, or rather junk news, or broadly the impact of the technological revolution on democracy, we must ensure the rule of law retains its meaning in a hyper-connected world. Hundreds of millions of people only access news through social media, and now the largest tech players – Facebook, YouTube, Google – should act with equally massive responsibility. The algorithms they perfect for optimal advertising revenues can become propaganda and hoax vehicles and the claims that platforms are neutral intermediaries, especially with more and more self-regulation, will prove unsustainable.

No one wants a Ministry of Truth, but I am also not reassured when Silicon Valley or Mark Zuckerberg are the de facto designers of our realities or of our truths. Through the e-Commerce Directive and otherwise we must ensure that free speech, access to information and the protection from discrimination are ensured. But we must be careful not to treat hate speech the same way as distasteful, undesired, shocking or insulting expressions. Even the ones that we have heard here today should be debated in an open manner. I fully agree that we have to make sure that censorship is not the alternative when we are trying to make the rule of law meaningful online.

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