EU tackles new ‘pandemic’ of disinformation on the internet

With the rise of fake news and conspiracies online, the EU works with partners in Vietnam to set the record straight

Cover - EU tackles new ‘pandemic’ of disinformation on the internet

Disinformation is a widespread problem on the internet, and the EU is constantly improving its capacity to tackle it for the protection of its democratic processes, security and citizens.

Also known as FIMI, or Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference, disinformation is a mostly non-illegal pattern of behaviour that threatens values, procedures and political processes. It is manipulative, intentional and coordinated, and can be perpetuated by state or non-state actors, including their proxies anywhere in the world.

In the latest episode of FYI Chat with EU Ambassador, a Vietnamese associate professor specialising in applied neuroscience and cross-cultural communication sat with the EU’s Ambassador to Vietnam, to discuss fake news and conspiracies as a new ‘pandemic’. Nguyen Phuong Mai, described the dangers of this invisible problem easily shared with others, including how it drives people into isolated, mutually trusting communities – often on social media.

She recalled how some children in the EU are taught from an early age how to recognise fake news and verify the trustworthiness of content, believing it to be an important starting point towards a broader solution to the problem.

The ambassador and his special guest took a moment in the programme to dispel narratives that set out to harm the EU’s reputation in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while also setting the record straight on facts such as Russia’s weaponisation of natural gas.

As of May, the episode has attracted over 5 500 views on Facebook. Past and upcoming episodes from the FYI series can also be watched there in addition to the YouTube channel of the EU Delegation to Vietnam (EUD).

The capacity of the European External Action Service (EEAS) to address the FIMI challenge has grown significantly since 2015, when the problem first appeared on the EU’s political agenda. In addition to a more precise understanding and diagnosis of the problem, EEAS has been working in close collaboration with other EU institutions, Member States, international partners such as the G7 and NATO, CSOs, academia, journalists, media and the private sector. It is also working to build capacities of EUDs such as that to Vietnam to address FIMI.

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