Disinformation, data theft and voter manipulation still a risk unless EU acts on Facebook, Labour MEPs warn

Unless EU bodies and national governments enforce existing rules and approve new measures on data protection, privacy and transparency, Facebook users will continue to be at risk of data theft, disinformation and manipulation, Labour MEPs warned today as the European Parliament looked set to back a resolution calling for urgent action.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The time for talking is over. Action must be taken now, and this resolution sets out clear measures to protect our citizens’ privacy and restore trust and confidence in our democratic systems. It sets out our response as parliamentarians to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach – this is an issue that has not only jeopardised citizens’ personal data, but which may have also had an impact on our elections and on the trust citizens place in digital platforms.

“This resolution makes clear that we expect measures to be taken to protect citizens’ right to private life, data protection and freedom of expression. Improvements have been made since the scandal, but, as the Facebook data breach of 50 million accounts showed just last month, these do not go far enough.

“We in the European Parliament have consistently led on these issues, proposing enhanced data protection measures long before the Facebook scandal, and we have led on the e-Privacy Regulation, which national governments must urgently approve to fully protect communications data.

“Technology has made all our lives easier, and has brought people together in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago, yet the growth of social media brings with it huge challenges. Disinformation and manipulation is one of the biggest threats facing our democracy, and unless we act, citizens cannot have confidence that they see online is the true picture.”

The vote on the resolution is on Thursday.