MEP Marlene Mizzi called for stronger actions to be taken by online platforms such as Google, YouTube and Facebook, in order to remove illegal digital content and videos targeting children encountering knock-off editions of favourite cartoon characters portrayed in situations of violence and death.

“It is disturbing that children’s videos are becoming a nightmare for parents. Those hideous videos, distributed by unknown authors or purposes, are in particular targeting children by distributing false and illegal digital content online,” said MEP Mizzi in a public hearing within the European Parliament.

MEP Mizzi has been recently appointed as the S&D spokesperson for the IMCO Committee on the Commission proposal on how to tackle illegal digital content online. During the discussions in the European Parliament, Marlene Mizzi spoke in favour of measures to tackle illegal online content, to fight terrorist content, child pornographic material, hate speech and the breach of intellectual property rights.

Addressing the IMCO Public hearing on the subject, Mizzi called on all stakeholders present to work together with the aim to create a safe environment for all users and in particular for children. “Self-regulation and removing digital content with search terms and banned accounts is not going to solve complicated problems of copyright infringement, non-transparent algorithms and ad-driven monetary incentives on a billion-view platforms with no meaningful human oversight. We need more targeted and harmonised measures at European level.”

In her address MEP Mizzi further argued that the mechanism used by many platforms “if you like that, you’ll like this” is actually training people to click on the first thing that comes along, regardless of the source. People are no longer aware of what is legal and what is illegal, what is fake and what is real. The same mechanism helps distribute fake political ads and conspiracy theories to millions of people. Urgent measures should be carried out in line with observance of people’s rights.”

Marlene Mizzi was also a speaker at  one of the workshops at the Digital Assembly 2018 held in Sofia, Bulgaria, as representive of the European Parliament. Marlene Mizzi reiterated that there is no room for online abuse and disinformation, but rather we should use online platforms available to use in such a way as to better the lives of the citizens. MEP Mizzi was also one of the speakers at the closing ceremony together with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

“Our aim to tackle illegal online content should be both transparent and proportionate. Safety should not mean that the Union infringes on the right to privacy and other rights of intellectual property. A balance must be found between protecting citizens and freedom of expression, although this is not easy!” said MEP Mizzi.

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