The EU Elections 2024: How to build resilience against disinformation campaigns on social platforms
Berger, C., Freihse, C., Hofmann, V., Kettemann, M. C., Mosene, K.
Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society & Bertelsmann Foundation
The upcoming 2024 EU elections present an important moment for digital campaigning, the governance of online discourses – and the overall future of Europe. A key challenge will come in the form of disinformation campaigns, hate speech and attempts to manipulate public debates. The risk is that citizens may turn skeptical and distrusting towards democratic processes, public discourses and Europe’s political institutions. And this risk is real: Recent forsa surveys, commissioned by the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, delved into the influence of digital disinformation, especially in the context of elections. They found that 54% of internet users encounter politically-driven disinformation at least occasionally. A staggering 85% believe that such disinformation can jeopardise democratic processes. There is good news however: Contrary to popular belief, research shows that disinformation is not swaying opinions in large numbers and that users are growing increasingly successful at spotting such misleading or false content, even if they could be encouraged to report it more regularly and actively.