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Jewish communities in the European Union

23-01-2020

The Jewish population in the EU has been diminishing in recent decades, and has witnessed an increase in acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in recent years. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2019.

The Jewish population in the EU has been diminishing in recent decades, and has witnessed an increase in acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in recent years. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2019.

Artificial intelligence, data protection and elections

20-05-2019

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

Technology and social polarisation

07-03-2019

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Personalised political messaging is highly automated. It starts and ends with social media, which provides both the data for categorising users and the medium for targeting them with personalised messages. Messages might be designed to favour a particular candidate or to encourage widespread discord ...

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Personalised political messaging is highly automated. It starts and ends with social media, which provides both the data for categorising users and the medium for targeting them with personalised messages. Messages might be designed to favour a particular candidate or to encourage widespread discord and mistrust. In either case, it could lead to more polarised societies in which citizens share less common ground and are less understanding of those with different political ideologies, attitudes to populism, or perspectives on specific topics such as immigration. These same technologies and techniques also shape trends in news production and consumption. As newspaper sales dwindle, outlets increasingly rely upon ad-revenue generated by clicks, making extensive use of social media platforms and user profiling. Public debate increasingly occurs via these social media platforms in which citizens, politicians, companies and bots communicate directly to each other without the traditional filters of journalistic standards and editorial oversight. It has been suggested that, where citizens increasingly rely on such platforms for news, they risk entering so-called ‘filter bubbles’ in which they are exposed to a narrow range of perspectives oriented around their own profiles, shielded from contrasting views, in a broad trend that could also lead to more polarised societies. In this context, STOA launched two studies to explore the mechanisms by which these technologies and techniques may foster polarisation in Europe. One study approached the question with reference to trends in the production and consumption of news media, while the other focussed on trends in political campaigning and communication strategies.

Kuidas võltsuudiseid ära tunda?

19-02-2019

Võltsuudised ja väärinfo on muutunud kogu maailmas suureks probleemiks, sest inimesi püütakse moonutatud teavet levitades petta. Sotsiaalmeedia ja sotsiaalvõrgustike personaliseerimise vahendid on väljamõeldiste levitamise väga lihtsaks teinud. Tähelepanu võitmiseks ja klikkide saamiseks mängitakse inimeste emotsioonidel ning enamasti lähtutakse seejuures majanduslikest või ideoloogilistest kaalutlustest. Isegi digimaailmas oskuslikult tegutsevatel noortel on moonutatud uudiseid raske ära tunda. ...

Võltsuudised ja väärinfo on muutunud kogu maailmas suureks probleemiks, sest inimesi püütakse moonutatud teavet levitades petta. Sotsiaalmeedia ja sotsiaalvõrgustike personaliseerimise vahendid on väljamõeldiste levitamise väga lihtsaks teinud. Tähelepanu võitmiseks ja klikkide saamiseks mängitakse inimeste emotsioonidel ning enamasti lähtutakse seejuures majanduslikest või ideoloogilistest kaalutlustest. Isegi digimaailmas oskuslikult tegutsevatel noortel on moonutatud uudiseid raske ära tunda. Tähelepanuväärne on ühtlasi see, et kuuel juhul kümnest ei loe kasutajad lugu enne selle sotsiaalmeedias jagamist isegi läbi. Ligikaudu 85% eurooplastest peab võltsuudiseid oma riigis probleemiks ja 83% peab seda ka ohuks demokraatiale. Seetõttu oleme koostanud kompassi, mis aitab teil infomeres kurssi hoida ning valedest ja väärinfost hoiduda.

Online disinformation and the EU's response

14-02-2019

The visibility of disinformation as a tool to undermine democracies increased in the context of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine. It gained notoriety as a global challenge during the UK referendum on EU membership as well as the United States presidential election campaign in 2016. The European Union and the European Parliament are stepping up efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

The visibility of disinformation as a tool to undermine democracies increased in the context of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine. It gained notoriety as a global challenge during the UK referendum on EU membership as well as the United States presidential election campaign in 2016. The European Union and the European Parliament are stepping up efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

Societal costs of “Fake news” in the Digital Single Market

14-12-2018

This in-depth analysis explores the mechanisms of “fake news” and its societal costs in the Digital Single Market. It describes the risks to the integrity of information and to the integrity of elections. It highlights the roles of the various actors involved in the production and amplification of such information disorders. Finally, it outlines responses that are being tested in different parts of Europe to deal with the issue. The document has been provided by Policy Department A at the request ...

This in-depth analysis explores the mechanisms of “fake news” and its societal costs in the Digital Single Market. It describes the risks to the integrity of information and to the integrity of elections. It highlights the roles of the various actors involved in the production and amplification of such information disorders. Finally, it outlines responses that are being tested in different parts of Europe to deal with the issue. The document has been provided by Policy Department A at the request of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Parlamendiväline autor

Prof. Dr. Divina Frau-Meigs

Prospects for EU-Asia connectivity - The 'European way to connectivity'

12-10-2018

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out ...

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out a mapping exercise on Euro-Asian connectivity, followed by the adoption of a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy' on 19 September 2018. The strategy proposes that the EU engage with its Asian partners through a sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based approach to connectivity, exploiting existing and planned EU networks. It acknowledges a significant investment gap in connectivity and recognises the need to mobilise and strengthen cooperation with private investors, national and international institutions, and multilateral development banks. The strategy is part of the EU's contribution to the ASEM12 Summit, which is to take place in Brussels on 18-19 October 2018. Presented by Vice President/High Representative, Federica Mogherini, as the 'European way to connectivity', the strategy was immediately perceived as the EU response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This initiative is currently raising concerns in the EU and in several participating countries, some of which are worried about possible 'debt traps'.

'Fake news' [What Think Tanks are thinking]

14-09-2018

Attempts at influencing or distorting elections in the United States and other countries, including some European Union Member States, have drawn attention to what is commonly referred to as ‘fake news’, or false news posing as factual stories. Although the phenomenon of generating misleading news stories is at least as old as the printing press, the growth of social media has led to a very significant proliferation of this phenomenon. Some outlets use deceitful headlines and content to boost readership ...

Attempts at influencing or distorting elections in the United States and other countries, including some European Union Member States, have drawn attention to what is commonly referred to as ‘fake news’, or false news posing as factual stories. Although the phenomenon of generating misleading news stories is at least as old as the printing press, the growth of social media has led to a very significant proliferation of this phenomenon. Some outlets use deceitful headlines and content to boost readership, in a search for higher advertising revenue. Other sources, often sponsored by certain state actors, are accused of spreading ‘fake news’ for entirely political ends. In March 2018, the European Commission published the Final Report of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation, which proposes ways to combat the phenomenon. In April a Commission communication followed, entitled ‘Tackling online disinformation: a European Approach.’

Cyber violence and hate speech online against women

16-08-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, looks into the phenomenon of cyber violence and hate speech online against women in the European Union. After reviewing existing definitions of the different forms of cyber violence, the study assesses the root causes and impact of online violence on women. It continues by analysing and mapping the prevalence, victims and perpetrators. The document ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, looks into the phenomenon of cyber violence and hate speech online against women in the European Union. After reviewing existing definitions of the different forms of cyber violence, the study assesses the root causes and impact of online violence on women. It continues by analysing and mapping the prevalence, victims and perpetrators. The document ends with an outline of the existing legal framework and recommendations for action within the EU remit.

Parlamendiväline autor

Adriane VAN DER WILK, Monika NATTER, ÖSB Consulting GmbH

Foreign influence operations in the EU

10-07-2018

Attempting to influence political decision-making beyond one's own political sphere is not a new phenomenon – it is an integral part of the history of geopolitics. Whereas hard power relies on military and economic force, the soft power of a state involves public diplomacy and dialogue on values, cultures and ideas, which should normally correspond with its behaviour abroad. Although the extent is hard to measure, democratic states whose values match the prevailing global norms – pluralism, fundamental ...

Attempting to influence political decision-making beyond one's own political sphere is not a new phenomenon – it is an integral part of the history of geopolitics. Whereas hard power relies on military and economic force, the soft power of a state involves public diplomacy and dialogue on values, cultures and ideas, which should normally correspond with its behaviour abroad. Although the extent is hard to measure, democratic states whose values match the prevailing global norms – pluralism, fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law as a principle within states and in international relations – and exert this influence by contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, traditionally appear more attractive, thus having more soft power leverage. However, influence can also serve purposes of interference and destabilisation. Authoritarian state actors struggle to project soft power while engaging in disruptive or destructive behaviour. Instead, some state actors see a means of reaching their goals by making democratic actors, systems and values appear less attractive, through a number of overt and covert instruments. The tools are constantly evolving. Today, social media combines the oral tradition with new electronic means of dissemination, enabling (potentially disruptive) messages to spread instantaneously. Disinformation can be, and is being, combined with other instruments in an increasingly diverse, hybrid 'toolbox' that authoritarian state actors have at their disposal. In recent years, awareness in the research community of online disinformation by state actors has increased around the world, not least in the context of the United Kingdom referendum on EU membership and the US presidential election in 2016. Although their visibility increases in the context of elections and referendums, influence campaigns are not limited to democratic processes.

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