The upcoming election in Slovakia has been marred by a deluge of disinformation and harmful content circulating on social media platforms. Among the false claims spread are a debunked Russian allegation that Ukraine’s president secretly bought a vacation home in Egypt, a post suggesting a candidate’s death from a Covid vaccine (despite being alive), and a far-right leader sharing an image of doctored refugees with an African man wielding a machete. However, a new European Union law, the Digital Services Act, aims to combat such content, potentially compelling social media giants to adopt stricter policies and practices or face fines of up to 6 percent of their revenue.
The Digital Services Act is designed to combat the routine hosting and popularization of corrosive content by social media platforms through their algorithms. Its implementation is expected to have global repercussions, as it could prompt changes in company policies not only in Europe but also in the United States and elsewhere. Authorities and experts are hopeful that the measure will be effective in curbing the spread of disinformation and harmful content online. With Slovakia heading to the polls on Saturday, the country finds itself at the forefront of testing the potential impact of this new legislation.
The dissemination of false information and harmful content on social media platforms has become a significant issue, especially during times of elections. The instances in Slovakia highlight the urgent need for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram to take stronger action in countering such content. The Digital Services Act serves as a wake-up call for social media giants, as failure to comply could result in substantial fines. As the Slovakian election approaches, and with the implementation of this new legislation, the attention now turns to the effectiveness of the measures taken, providing valuable insights and potentially shaping the future of social media policies not only in Europe but also globally.