Internet trolls, fake user accounts, automated Twitter-Bots, organised Fake-News campaigns: Before that, the French President, Emmanuel Macron (41) is afraid of. The elections in Europe, attacks against foreign hackers and to protect false information, he wants to create a European “Agency for the protection of democracy”.

But not only Macron is afraid of tampering attempts, but also the Swiss people. According to a survey conducted by the Forschungsstelle Sotomo are convinced four out of five Swiss that falsehoods play in political debates, a larger and larger role.

Almost as many see social media as the reason for the “uncontrolled dissemination of false news”. 83 per cent of places in it a danger for democracy and social cohesion. Thus, the question of the extent to which Fake-News campaigns, elections, or votes can influence or even decide really.

Against Internet trolls

the global civic movement Avaaz, is Alarmed about it. In Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (63) had been elected President, “after grey spread full of lies about his opponent go viral on Social Media,” writes Avaaz on your Website. In a test run, Avaaz had set up in Brazil a Team of six specialists, “the Propaganda networks and Fake-News-factories” to override.

With this experience, the organization now also in Europe and in Switzerland in the cyber war against Internet trolls. “Our main focus is on the European elections at the end of may, then we want to have on the elections in Switzerland an eye,” says campaign Director Christoph Schott (31) to a VIEW.

With Facebook in an interview

For his Cyber-defence has created Avaaz, a reporting office for disinformation. In the meantime, the Team of 26 employees, which messages to accept, check and at the appropriate Places – such as Facebook – direct pressure for corrections. The respective findings are to be published – based on revelations such as the “Panama Papers” – in a kind of “Disinformation Papers”.

“There have already been several Meetings with Facebook and other platforms,” says Schott. Basically, these were open to it, more false information. “That is not enough, however, currently far from the flood to stop a wave of Fake News, we see it coming,” says Schott.

in Addition, counts Avaaz on a wide range of supporters-network. Around 20 million people in Europe – almost 400’000 of them in Switzerland.

“disinformation knows no bounds”

However, the Switzerland is the right destination? “Disinformation knows no bounds,” says Schott. He refers to a study by the University of applied Sciences North-Western Switzerland, which took thousands of Tweets to the No-Billag Initiative under the magnifying glass.

In the two months before the vote were posted, therefore, every day, up to 1000 automated messages on Twitter. Only 50 User specified using so-called Bots – computer programs, which certain tasks run automatically – the half of the No-Billag-discussion.

votes as a “Testing Ground”

“This is a good indicator that the Switzerland of Disinfo campaigns will not be spared,” says Schott.

Already the popular votes from the 19. May on the EU weapons Directive, and the OASI tax Deal could be for Avaaz, therefore, of interest to you. Schott: “This could be a good “Testing Ground” to see what we can expect in the European elections.”