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Dealing with news: How do we know what is true in this chaotic mediascape?


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It seems like it’s more and more difficult to access trustworthy news sources, while also being harder and harder to accurately fight algorithmic bias and discern what fake news is.


How can we ensure everyone is able to access fact-checked news? Should the responsibility to decide what news is fake, offensive or deserving of censorship be left in the hands of tech giants content moderators?

What would effective media literacy education look like, so people would know how to decode information correctly?

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

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The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

Briefing, April 2020


25 February 2021
This is an idea that I formulated together with others in one of the youth seminars. We figured out that it is very difficult today to distinct what is true from what is false. A possible solution is to weapon ourselves with competences such as critical thinking and media literacy. Although implementing education of these competences, in schools but also through media etc, is definetly a step in the good direction, we don't think it will resolve the problem since it is more a resolving of one of the symptoms of the true problem than the true problem itself.

The true problem lies according to me in how the supply-demand system of information is organized today. At the supply side the media is directed towards collecting clicks since this is the way to get money as mediachanel. This makes news more prone to write sensational news instead of qualitative and informative news because that is what generaly generates a lot of clicks. Also another incentive today is to manipulate people through media, because the information we get dictates the way how we act and a lot of actors have adventages in making us act a certain way.

At the demand side we are motivated to be informed: we want to know how the world is doing and this is very good since it is necessary for a democracy to work. The problem is however that for the supply side it is more profitable to give us sensational news (in how much this news is true is actually such a big factor in the equation). How then can we change this situation to bring truth into the equation? I think we can do this by creating a universal label indicating the trustworthiness of the instution with the role of informing us.

We can educate people to inspect news more critically, to double check and so on, but it is not very realistic to expect people to do this al the time. We are easily baited, it is the way our brains are wired. It would be way better to avoid the possibility to be baited. This can be done by creating a label of trustworthiness. It is like a nutri-score: we can't choose rationally what food is good for us all the time. The comparison is often to difficult, hence the nutri-score to make it more easy to compare and know what is healthy for us. I think this idea can be translated to our media-diet. To compare and know what is trustworthy is very difficult. We see that even the smartest people get baited, there are enough experiments showing this. If we could create a score to easily compare and know what kind of information we are getting, we could be way better informed. Just as it easier to make healthy choices with a nutri score, it is easier to make wise choices with a trustworthiness score.

Ofcourse the creation of this label is not an easy job. It should have transparant criteria to give it prestige so that people can also trust the trustworthynesslabel, if not that would be quite ironically. But I'm sure that the knowledge and skills are there to implement this relatively easy and cheap idea.
17 August 2020
The EU should be able to provide a system for free immigration for members 9f the European Youth Parliament without Visas
17 August 2020
As a graduate student, my opinion is that both tech giant content moderators (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and those who own websites and other communication places (e.g., huge social communication entities like BBC, smaller websites, etc...) should have the shared responsibility of detecting fake news. This could be accomplished resorting to a closed, honest, explicit and very well managed and monitored network of content validation between social communication systems, since most citizens tend to fall in conspiracy theories and other dangerous holes that spread very fast and can have strong impact in society. This network should also have contact with a few national representatives carefully selected and that whose position should not be maintained for long time. We are humans, we need rotating tasks in the same job position, otherwise our bias increases. Thank you for your attention!
17 August 2020
Good morning,
I have been wondering for a long time now, what the EU things about the kids of immigrants who have come to EU nations ( for example in Italy), been here for 15 years now, always with documents, and still we can’t vote?! I couldn’t vote for the EU elections, I have never voted in my life, I’m still waiting for my Italian passport, but here it takes years for the process! After you apply they take 4 years to give you an answer, so I’m 27 now, that means I will be voting at 30 years old for the first time?
Is this democracy? I have been paying taxes here in Italy since I was 17! But I can’t vote, because I don’t have an Italian passport yet, is it fair for the EU? What about a new law where after a total years of residence in a EU country we can vote! Or if we come in an early age in a EU country and finish the studies here, we can at least vote, have a voice, because it is here we belong, we live here, work here, have our family here. The right to vote in any circumstance that’s what I call DEMOCRACY!
Thank you!