Published: Sat, 06 January 2024
Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has stressed the critical need to address the potential harm caused by misinformation networks, particularly in light of a number of arson attacks on accommodation earmarked or thought to be earmarked for asylum seekers.
Kelly voiced his concern about the escalating threats of violence, stating, “Since the pandemic, we have seen a dramatic increase in misinformation, which has not been sufficiently addressed by social media platforms. Misinformation has fuelled misguided anger, which has turned to violence and destruction of property on several occasions. This threat needs to be taken more serious by the Gardaí, although investigations have been launched, it’s important that those responsible are held to account. Otherwise, there is a risk of further instances.”
“The recent arson attacks on potential accommodation buildings are not what Ireland stands for. These are ridiculous acts of vandalism and arson that damage public or private property and just wastes more Irish tax payer’s money. These thugs are simply criminals and should face the justice system” MEP Kelly said.
Kelly also raised concerns about the spread of misinformation and consequence to Irish democratic processes, especially as we approach local and European elections. “It is imperative that we address manipulative practices, fake accounts, and hacking. Anything that could undermine the citizens’ right to make informed decisions. There are many actors, both internal and external, who have no regard for what is in the Irish people’s best interest. We know how impactful the likes of social media can be, so it really has to be taken seriously”, said Kelly.
Kelly was happy to see the investigation into X, formerly known as Twitter, by the European Commission. “This investigation underscores the need for accountability. It is crucial that social media platforms adhere to their obligations to counter illegal content and disinformation, ensuring transparency and preventing the deceptive design of user interfaces. However, law enforcement to plug into this world to ensure they are proactive and break up harmful misinformation networks before they spill into violence,” Kelly added.