We have reached out to more that 40 independent fact-checking organizations in 26 European countries to invite them to participate in a large survey about disinformation and public policy. The goal is to find out what they think of the current state of the fight against disinformation in the European Union, which measures could institutions and platforms take, and which role should organizations such as ours play in that debate.
In Maldita.es we have joined forces with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to talk to every organization that the network has certified as an independent fact-checker in Europe. Some are based in member states of the European Union and some aren't, but they will all be affected by the current debate at the EU institutions regarding how to address the problem.
The European Commission has released its proposal for a Digital Services Act (DSA). The draft would require, among other things, that "very large online platforms" have specific obligations such as evaluating risks derived from the use of their services when it comes to disinformation and also to take measures to mitigate it. In addition to that, the Commission is currently launching a process to strengthen the voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation of which most big platforms are signatories.
In Maldita.es we have already said that we do not believe that the solution to the current disinformation crisis will come from regulation alone, but it is true that institutions can take measures that help. We also think that those measures will be more effective if implemented at the European level and that European fact-checkers have learnt many things from our work that could be useful to design those policies.
The survey will remain open during the summer and we expect to have the first results in September. It is a thorough study of the preferences and experiences of European fact-checking organizations, as well as of where they are and where they would like to be in terms of shaping public policy. We believe the survey findings will help fact-checkers to know each other better and organize to have a stronger voice in the decision-making process.