GSMA’s Views on the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the European Democracy Action Plan

Monday 14 Sep 2020 |

GSMA’s Views on the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the European Democracy Action Plan image

The Internet has reached an unprecedented scale, both in terms of users and data collected and processed. Online service providers have enriched connectivity between citizens, facilitating unlimited access to and exchange of information. However, the lack of transparency and monitoring mechanisms of the business model of these service providers has allowed information to be manipulated on a large scale and has generated the explosion of disinformation as “a major challenge for Europe”, as described by the European Commission. The European Democracy Action Plan presents an opportunity to implement a clear, broad and comprehensive set of measures to tackle the spread and impact of online disinformation and to ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems.

In this view, it is necessary to distinguish between disinformation and misinformation, the latter being understood as erroneous information that is false, but not created with the intention of causing harm. On the other hand, disinformation can be defined as information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organization or country. Moreover, disinformation threatens public confidence and distorts perception of independently verifiable facts, which can disrupt democratic processes and undermine trust in institutions. It can also create or deepen tensions in society by exploiting individual or collective vulnerabilities such as cognitive dissonance, group cues or stereotypes. Far from existing solely in theory, the consequences of disinformation campaigns have proven severe and far-reaching, challenging Members States’ ability to conduct free and fair elections or protect the health and safety of EU citizens.

For more information please contact:

Pierantonio Rizzo

Senior Manager, EU Affairs, GSMA

Pierantonio Rizzo

Pierantonio Rizzo is a Public Policy Manager for the Policy & Regulatory Affairs team at GSMA Europe, working primarily on Consumer Protection, Platforms, Copyright and Cybersecurity issues. In his role, Pierantonio creates public affairs strategies for the membership and represents the GSMA towards the EU Institutions.

Prior to joining the GSMA in 2017, Pierantonio worked at the European Parliament, where he followed the workstream of the IMCO and AFET Committees. He began his career as an articled-clerk in an Italian law firm and then moved to Brussels to intern for Rohde Public Policy, a public affairs consultancy firm.

Pierantonio holds a Masters of European Affairs from the Catholic University of Paris and a LLM from the University of Bologna, during which he had an exchange program with the Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas. Pierantonio speaks Italian, English, French and is currently learning Spanish.