Social Media Manipulation a Threat to Democracy Skip to content
Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Photo: Golli.

Social Media Manipulation a Threat to Democracy

The National Security Council of Iceland will discuss the manipulation of social media to influence elections at its next meeting, RÚV reports. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated the issue would be on the council’s meeting agenda following an inquiry from Reform Party Chairperson Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir.

Þorgerður Katrín raised the issue of election manipulation via social media during question period yesterday. She reminded the chamber of widespread negative ads published on social media before the last parliamentary elections in Iceland. The party responsible for the ads was never revealed. Þorgerður Katrín asked the Prime Minister what she intended to do to ensure that undisclosed parties could not threaten democracy by abusing social media.

The Icelandic Data Protection Authority sent Icelandic authorities a letter last week warning that manipulation of elections via social media was an acute threat to democracy. The Prime Minister stated that representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Justice would meet this week to discuss the Data Protection Authority’s letter. The issue was also discussed by the European commission recently, where justice commissioner Věra Jourová told the European parliament that digital manipulation could seriously threaten free and open elections.

Iceland lacks comprehensive legislation regarding the operations of political parties, including privacy concerns, the Prime Minister stated. She stated that she intents to take the issue up with political party managing directors. She also pointed to the importance of education and community awareness in combating the spread of misinformation.

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