Uncertainty and doubts: the plan against government misinformation worries experts

Lying is the first known informational vehicle. The control of the truth, the propaganda and the attempts to influence the opinion of the population goes beyond mere social networks and the term coined by the “fake news” in recent years. A real problem that has been in the containment plans of governments since the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal in 2016. And, now, it is linked between the plans of the Government of Pedro Sánchez.

Among the agreements signed (PDF) between the PSOE and United We can to carry out the investiture includes a section, point 5.9, which recognizes the creation of a national strategy against misinformation. This aspect incorporates the development of guides, best practices and courses to combat disinformation on the Internet and social networks. A thorny issue, although the agreement reinforces the idea that it will be done under “scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and information.” During his speech at the Plenary Session of Congress as a candidate for investiture, Sanchez cited the so-called “fake news” as one of the “most damaging to trust” phenomena.

Data protection experts, however, still doubt about this measure. For Borja Adsuara, an expert in digital law and former director of Red.es, this proposal – still lacking in specifying and knowing more details – seems “very dangerous” because he considers that if you have a scrupulous respect “you don’t regulate the freedom of expression, whose limits are already in the law and jurisprudence ». Adsuara wonders if the proposals include creating codes of conduct: «Who are they for? For multinational social media companies?

«They are courses for censors, for internet companies. Will a ministry of truth enter to say what is true or not? That’s impossible. The only thing that is regulated are the excesses that harm someone and that are already in the criminal code and the civil code as crimes against honor and privacy, ”he says. In his opinion, the only measure that the Government can take to combat disinformation implies not entering into the truth of the news. «In that he cannot bury. What you can do, because social networks work with algorithms, is to encourage verifications with independent actors. But above all avoid the “bots”. The problem is not that there is false news, but that it is disseminated thousands of times, ”says this expert on the other side of the phone.

For Ofelia Tejerina, president of the Association of Internet Users, it seems “a positive measure as long as it is a socio-educational measure to develop the critical thinking of citizens”, but with nuances: “One thing is to teach what distinguishes what is true or lie and another thing is to say that “here is the truth or the lie”, because otherwise it becomes manipulation », he maintains. In his opinion, «if you want to create criteria about what is true and what we will not be behind; if you intend to help citizens know how to distinguish between what is reliable information and what is false news, it seems positive to me ». Likewise, this expert points out, if the idea of ​​the Government intends to develop mechanisms to communicate what are the reliable sources or not “is a mistake” and if it is related to implementing censorship measures through information services “is a undesirable situation ». .

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