European Commission did not detect signs of a disinformation campaign for EU elections

Summary

Despite frequent EU announcements “about the threat of Russian propaganda”, in its report of June this year, the European Commission acknowledged that it did not detect signs of a public disinformation campaign from abroad for the European Parliamentary elections, although it reported attempts by “some Russian sources” to influence voters.

Disproof

This claim is a distortion of the actual report, taking the following sentence out of context: "Available evidence has not allowed us to identify a distinct cross-border disinformation campaign from external sources specifically targeting the European elections”. The next sentence provides further clarification: "However, the evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences”.

Asked if the report doesn’t contradict itself, Security Commissioner Julian King said that disinformation aimed at dividing Europeans was "increasingly locally focused", which the report explains as follows: "Instead of conducting large-scale operations on digital platforms, these actors, in particular linked to Russian sources, now appeared to be opting for smaller-scale, localised operations that are harder to detect and expose."

This claim follows a recurring disinformation narrative aiming to portray Russia as innocent and falsely accused of interference in other countries’ affairs. See other examples herehere and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 169
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: Bosnian, Serbian
  • Country: Russia, EU
  • Keywords: EU elections 2019, European Parliament, European Commission, Propaganda
  • Outlet: Sputnik Srbija
see more

The European Union has declared war on internet free speech:…

The European Union has declared war on internet free speech: in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, it has unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe.

Disproof

The European Commission, together with social media companies, share a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world. However, the Commission and the IT Companies recognise that the spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, it also negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms. By signing the code of conduct, the IT companies commit to continuing their efforts to tackle illegal hate speech online (bit.ly/25vWgXU), .

As a result of anti-Russian propaganda, locals on Kamsholmen Island,…

As a result of anti-Russian propaganda, locals on Kamsholmen Island, Finland, mistook a military exercise for Russian invasion.

Disproof

In light of Russia's illegal actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, along with President Putin's warning to Romania and Poland, it is not surprising that the military exercise created concern among citizens.