Speech at #EPlenary: disinformation and hate speech

Thank you, Madam President

Madam Commissioner, Madam Minister, Colleagues

Online disinformation and hate speech are not new issues but have been developing for years. Although some measures have been introduced, like the EEAS East StratCom Task Force, they have so far been insufficient to counter efficiently the assault on our democracies.

After the riots in Capitol Hill, the ultimate price of allowing disinformation and hatred to spread online unchecked is clear for all of us.  

Finding balance between limiting harmful content while maintaining freedom of speech may be a challenging task, but it is doable and must be addressed now. 

I look forward to this debate, particularly as we now have a concrete opportunity to address these issues through new draft legislation, including the Digital Services Act. 

It will establish new rules, including on advertising transparency, illegal content removal, and data access. 

Continuing improvements to the Commission’s code of conduct on disinformation are necessary steps but we also need to extend our offline safeguards to the online world by limiting the use of targeted advertising and the profiling of users. I welcome Commission’s initiative on regulating political advertising.

We also need to explore ways to promote media literacy skills to raise the knowledge of users. 

The EU led the way and set an example to the rest of the world by adopting strong data protection regulation – the GDPR.  

Now we need to go further. The Digital Services Act can facilitate the development of our digital economy while protecting fundamental rights and providing increased security from online harms.  

This is our, EU, opportunity to lead the way together with our allies in the United States and beyond. 

Thank you!

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