EU faces surge of disinformation ahead of Parliamentary elections

Connie Queline

EU faces surge of disinformation ahead of Parliamentary elections

The European Union (EU) is facing a wave of disinformation on social media ahead of the parliamentary elections in June. False claims, such as banning the repair of old cars or hiding insect ingredients in food, have gone viral and been debunked by fact-checkers.
The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has highlighted disinformation as a significant threat. Experts suggest that ignorance about the EU’s decision-making process contributes to negative perceptions and distrust towards its institutions. When the European Commission proposed revising regulations on end-of-life vehicles, social media users spread the false claim that Brussels planned to ban the repair of vehicles over 15 years old.
Disinformation spreaders portray the EU as a malevolent and all-powerful machine that encroaches on member states’ sovereignty and citizens’ freedoms. However, media sociologist Cyril Lemieux argues that the complexity of topics in Brussels is not significantly different from national public policy. The distrust of working classes towards perceived distant elites fuels adherence to fake news.
Anti-EU actors, like Nigel Farage, Francois Asselineau, and Istvan Nagy, spread false claims about the European Commission wanting to make people eat insects without their knowledge.Senior analyst Jakub Kalensky points out that pro-sovereignty advocates have developed a symbiotic relationship with Russia’s pro-Kremlin disinformation ecosystem.
This relationship benefits both sides, granting legitimacy to the pro-Kremlin messaging and providing visibility to anti-EU actors. Disinformation targeting the EU comes from various sources, including confused individuals and organized political groups.
However, it is crucial to differentiate between legitimate criticism and disinformation.The EU must not dismiss all negative messages as disinformation without considering the underlying issues. It is essential to address the problems citizens face in the integration process. SOURCE

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