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The spread of Fake News on social media is a real Threat to our Democracies

GDJ [CC0]

There is increasing evidence that organized social media manipulation campaigns have targeted 70 countries across the globe in 2019, up from 48 countries in 2018 and 28 countries in 2017. And Facebook is the most common platform for social media manipulation (Re. University of Oxford). It is therefore not surprising that this report is entitled « The Global Disinformation Order ». A growing number of governments and groups associated with them are using social media to spread disinformation with the clear objective of undermining the public trust in the proper functioning of our democratic institutions.The seriousness of the situation is mainly due to the fact that today more and more people only get news from social media sites. And these people are rarely in a position to assess the credibility of this information. Fake news spread by social media are also a growing problem for many companies around the world. A recent survey which has polled 588 large companies from 13 countries found that 84% of companies feel threatened by the risk of false rumors being fueled by social media (Re.Kroll). We must recognize that it is now difficult to debunk misinformation. And the flow of information online is steadily rising. And the manipulation of the images and videos -deepfake- is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Democratic states must urgently plan new responses to cope with what is a deteriorating security situation. And governments should not hesitate to name the states and groups that are manipulating public opinion. In a word, our democracies must defend themselves.

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