Chancellor of the Government Stresses the Importance of Social Platforms Responsibility and a Stronger Role for States at OECD Conference on Combating Disinformation


2023 11 13


Lithuania and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will launch a joint resilience-building programme to combat disinformation and foreign threats. Giedrė Balčytytė, Chancellor of the Government, who is participating in the conference "Strengthening democracy through information integrity", stressed the need to share experience and best practices, combining the efforts of OECD member states and other democratic partners.

As G. Balčytytė pointed out, united efforts can lead to solutions that will strengthen democracies and the countries around the world that have chosen democratic path, and the OECD provides all the opportunities and tools for closer cooperation. This is also the aim of the joint Lithuanian-OECD programme for building resilience to disinformation and foreign threats. The National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) will be a main partner of this initiative in Lithuania, bringing together other public institutions, the private sector, and civil society organisations working in the field of resilience building.

In her opening address at the conference, the Chancellor drew attention to the encroachment of regimes and non-state actors on the principles and internal life of democracies through disinformation, economic coercion and other hostile acts, sowing distrust in institutions and fostering internal division. The Chancellor of the Government, who opened the event with Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the OECD, stressed the importance of the responsibility of social platforms and the increased role of states in this context.

“Since Russia’s war in Ukraine started, we observed disturbing effects – huge scale spread of Russian disinformation, artificial amplification of marginal content or suspension of pro-Ukrainian content. Social media activities in the context of Hamas attack on Israel demonstrate that this is universal, rather than event specific.

Social platforms became the most important vehicle for social discourse and mass communication. But we must admit that societies do not adapt so quickly to the technological changes. Capacity to spread disinformation instantaneously by catching public attention and making impact is not repaired by corrections which gain no comparable reach,” said G. Balčytytė

We observe that social platform designs, moderation policies, and algorithms are exploited for hybrid attacks by our adversaries. We want to stress that this is not some kind of legalistic question for us, but existential threat to our countries, added the Chancellor. Therefore, we need to recognize these risks and facilitate development of immunity of our society, while protecting free speech.

It is clear, that these dynamics call for bigger role of state, not smaller, stressed Chancellor G. Balčytytė. Healthy and diverse media ecosystem, which will be able to provide citizens with reliable and non-biased information, should be promoted. Important aspect of strengthening of the societal resilience against information threats – strong civil society, including non-governmental organizations operating in the field of fight against disinformation.

“At the same time, governments and societies in general cannot allow social platforms just to react to disinformation casually and with insufficient efforts. In such cases of ignorance, disinformation, created and distributed by the rogue actors, freely spreads usurping free speech and distorting the reality. The problem of disinformation and its damaging effects cannot be solved without addressing the broader issue of foreign malign interference. Disinformation serves both as integral part and amplifier of such activities of rogue actors,” said the Chancellor of the Government.

The Paris conference "Tackling Disinformation: Strengthening democracy through information integrity" is organised by the OECD and its DIS/MIS Resource Hub, with Lithuania as one of its founders.

Vilmantas Vitkauskas, Head of the Lithuanian NCMC, participated in the conference session on the challenges and priorities in coordinating action within and across governments and presented the NCMC's experience.