Tackling Disinformation and Infodemics Demands Media Policy Changes

Bechmann, Anja
Digital Journalism

Disinformation and infodemics have been central for the media policy agenda in most countries and in particular in Europe. Yet, the European Commission has had a soft law approach centralizing obligations to handling information disorder on a content level. This commentary argues that by focusing primarily on the content level we miss the bigger picture where disinformation and infodemics are only symptoms of something more important on a media infrastructure level. The commentary suggests that we need to reconsider regulation on the infrastructure level instead that supports the democratic need for better access to verified content by looking at how the current legal structure across regulatory silos is benefitting the exact opposite. Furthermore, the commentary suggests to specifically address influencers (defined by number of followers) in the context of moderation, and lastly suggests that user data is ideally stored and governed outside privately owned companies in Europe in order to benefit users and society at large.