Why isn’t the EU Vice President worried about the moon landing plot on YouTube

When European Union vice president Věra Jourová met YouTube CEO Neal Mohan in California last week, they talked about the long-standing conspiracy theory that the moon landing was fake. YouTube has faced calls from some users and advocacy groups to remove videos that question the historic mission. Like other videos denying accepted science, they were started from the proposal and have A Wikipedia link is added directs the viewer to the scene of debunking.

But when Mohan talked about those measures, Jourová made one thing clear: Fighting lunatics on the moon or flat-Earthers should not be a priority. “If people want to believe, let them believe,” she said. As the official responsible for protecting Europe’s democratic values, she said it was more important to ensure YouTube and other major platforms spared no investable euros Reality check or make product changes to limit false or misleading content that threatens EU security.

“We are focusing on stories that have the potential to mislead voters, that can cause great harm to society,” Jourová told WIRED in an interview. Unless conspiracy theories could lead to death, violence or massacre, she said, don’t expect the EU to demand action against them. Content as recent Report fake news announced that Poland is mobilizing the army in the middle of an election? It’s better not to take it as fact online.

From Jourová’s point of view, her conversation with Mohan and similar discussions she held last week with CEOs of TikTok, XAnd Meta shows the EU is helping companies understand what is needed to fight misinformation, as required under the bloc’s tough new rules Digital Services Act. Its demands include that starting this year, the internet’s biggest platforms, including YouTube, must take steps to combat misinformation or risk fines of up to 6% of revenue their global.

Civil liberties activists fear that the DSA could eventually enable the bloc’s more authoritarian regimes to censor. The strong showing of far-right candidates in this weekend’s EU parliamentary elections could also lead to uneven implementation.

YouTube spokeswoman Nicole Bell said the company works with Jourová on preventing serious real-world harm and also removes content that misleads voters about how to vote or encourages interference. democratic processes. “Our teams will continue to work around the clock,” Bell said of monitoring problematic videos of this week’s EU elections.

Jourová, who expects her five-year term to end at the end of this year, partly because her Czech political party, ANO, is no longer in power in her home country. Czech to abandon her, arguing that the DSA was not intended to allow anything more than appropriate censorship of the most egregious content. She doesn’t expect Mohan or any other tech executive to go an inch further than what the law requires. “Overuse, underutilization based on EU law would be a major failure and a major danger,” she said.

On the other hand, she acknowledged that if companies don’t step up to mitigate misinformation, some influential politicians have threatened to seek tougher rules that could include outright censorship . “I hate this idea,” she said. “We don’t want this to happen.”

But with the DSA providing more guidance than clear boundaries, how do platforms know when to act? Jourova’s “democracy tour” of Silicon Valley, as she calls it, is partly aimed at facilitating policy dialogue. And she expects researchers, experts, and social media journalism to all do their part to find the blurred line between free expression and destructive misinformation. She joked that she didn’t want to be seen as “Europe’s Minister of Truth,” as appealing as that title might be. Leaving politicians alone to determine what is acceptable online “will pave the way for hell,” she said.


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