January 28, 2021

Vox Proposes Regulating News Checkers, Accusing Them of Supporting “Certain Political Parties”

The Vox parliamentary group has gone one step further in its war against news verifiers with a proposal for an organic law, admitted for processing this Friday by the Table of Congress, for “the partial regulation of the verification of false news” on networks social and media.

The extreme right declares war on verification journalism in Spain emulating Bolsonaro and Trump

The extreme right declares war on verification journalism in Spain emulating Bolsonaro and Trump

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In the explanatory memorandum, Vox assures that the Government “has been carrying out a verification of false news on social networks —with not a few intrusions in what is completely opinion— lacking all its own legal regulations and with an amplitude and instruments that are ignored , with the stated purpose of, at least, «minimizing» the criticism on social networks of the political action of the current Government “.

Vox proposes in the text, published in the Official Gazette of the Courts, that the verification of false content that is disseminated through social networks, blogs and the media is not carried out or supervised by individuals or private or public entities. “Dependent on governments or authorities” or “politically partisan”, unless these organizations publicly declare this link. Likewise, the formation of the extreme right also calls for the prohibition of “all governmental verification of false news” and the same for “all verification of opinions”.

The parliamentary proposal continues, stating that only the Justice “will be able to take decisions on the verification of false news”, and that social networks, blogs, websites in general, print and digital press and audiovisual media are “civilly responsible” for the verification of false news contrary to rights such as expressing opinions and freely communicating or receiving truthful information.

Finally, it asks for the repeal of Law 7/2010, of March 31, general of audiovisual communication; Law 14/1966, of March 18, on the press and printing; and Law 34/2002, of July 11, on services of the information society and electronic commerce.

Charge against “external agents” hired by social networks

Vox charges in the motive, in addition, against the “external agents” that have hired social networks to verify false news. In the party’s opinion, verification on social networks “has been entrusted” to organizations “with a seditious pretense of ideological neutrality, but in truth, directly or indirectly, dependent on governments and / or authorities” and support “certain political parties” and they are “hostile” to others.

Vox accused Ana Pastor months ago of being “the one who decides what is true and what is not on Facebook and Twitter,” referring to Newtral, the project founded by the journalist. But the truth is that Twitter does not have a team outside of themselves to verify the content. It is the company itself that decides who violates any of the rules established after receiving the complaint of a tweet andFor example, avoiding situations of abuse or harassment.

As for Facebook and Instagram, in Spain there are four organizations (AFP, EFE Verifica, Maldita.es and Newtral) that are part of the content fact-checking program. The platform removes accounts and content that violate its community norms or its advertising policies, but not pieces that contribute to disinformation, although it alerts on them. What it does is reduce its distribution and inform users by adding context to the posts they see: for example, if someone shares content categorized as fake, they will be warned.


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