SOCIAL MEDIA / NETWORKS DISINFORMATION AND PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW IN THE CONTEXT OF ELECTION OBSERVATION
Social media and networks have become an essential space of public and semi-public discourse. They have shown their democratising potential by increasing access to information and greatly lowering the barrier of participation in public debates, however, the last few years have also shown some of the risks that are present in social media. The low barriers to participation have been used by various state and not-state actors attempting to undermine electoral integrity by spreading disinformation, intimidating stakeholders and suppressing free speech.
This briefing paper written by our Executive Director Michael Meyer-Resende seeks to give impetus to the debate on three questions:
- What does international human rights law, the reference point for international election observation, has to say about social media in elections?
- What has been done practically by observers to monitor social media in elections?
- What else could be done and how should international election observation missions, which have the ambition to comprehensively follow an election approach the task?