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EU Pushes for Fighting Voter Manipulation Amid Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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In late March, media reports about the personal information of about 50 million Facebook users being harvested by Cambridge Analytica without the users' permission during the 2016 US presidential campaign led to scandal and prompted Facebook to launch a probe.

The EU's justice commissioner Vera Jourova has announced the bloc's plans to create a mechanism which could help national governments tackle voter manipulation via social media in light of scandal involving Facebook and the political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

Referring to the EU, she warned that "if only one country's elections are at risk of being manipulated, this has an impact on our whole union."

READ MORE: ‘Free and Fair Elections’ at Risk from Companies like Cambridge Analytica

"We need to improve our cooperation on such topics at European level. We need to tackle the online challenges to elections head-on. Pressing issues such as political advertising online, transparency, equal access to media online and data protection cannot and should not be considered in isolation," Jourova emphasized.

According to her, "a policy paper or recommendations" on the matter is due to be published by the EU in the autumn.

Jourova's remarks came after the European Commission called for establishing the so-called code of practice on disinformation which, in particular, stipulates a spate of steps to restrict social media's micro-targeting of voters, support independent network of fact-checkers, as well as promote quality journalism and media literacy.

READ MORE: Cambridge Analytica Researcher Kogan Calls Facebook Data Mining 'Pretty Usual'

Earlier, the Oxford Internet Institute's survey singled out 48 countries where at least one political party or government agency used social media to manipulate public opinion domestically.

In May, Facebook suspended about 200 apps amid its investigation in the misuse of private data following the Cambridge Analytica scandal related to the political consultancy firm reportedly obtaining between 50 and 80 million Facebook profiles without users' permission during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

READ MORE: 'There Were Chinese Walls': Ex-Cambridge Analytica Employee Testifies

Twitter app on a mobile phone - Sputnik International
Twitter Sold Massive Data to Researcher Behind Cambridge Analytica Uproar
While reportedly working for multiple political campaigns, Cambridge Analytica gathered data from these millions of social media accounts to develop a mechanism that would predict and influence the behavior of voters.

In April, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress due to a scandal that has cost the social media giant $100 billion in market value.

It was preceded by his apologizing and accepting responsibility for Facebook's failure to protect its users' private data which was harvested by the Cambridge Analytica.

"We also made mistakes, there's more to do, and we need to step up and do it," Zuckerberg stressed in a Facebook post.

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