Even the digitally savvy activists of the Pirate Party still use analog campaign methods. “Hello, can I offer you a flyer?”, the party’s leader, Ancilla van de Leest, asked passers-by in Amsterdam on Tuesday. The two men on their way to Amsterdam’s LGBTQ film festival kindly rejected her offer. “Do go out and vote, though,” she responded. One day before the elections for the Dutch lower house of parliament, Van de Leest’s party is predicted by an aggregate of six polls to receive around 1 percent of the votes, which for the first time could be enough for a seat. If elected, Van de Leest hopes to increase the level of debate on digital affairs. “The level of knowledge [about technology] is really low,” she said about the current members of parliament, adding that MPs often admit so themselves.
While the role of technology was not a prominent campaign theme, it did play an important procedural role. After the election campaign in the United States, politicians, government authorities, and media in the Netherlands became highly attentive to the risks of fake news and foreign hacking.
Pirate candidate Ancilla van de Leest told EUobserver that she had her doubts about the influence of fake news. “I have seen very little fake news,” she said. “Even if someone shares fake news, in particular on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, that will be immediately followed by hundreds of comments that point to the actual truth. There is a self-cleaning mechanism.”
Last week, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published a report confirming Van de Leest’s assessment. The daily looked at a hundred political news items that were often shared on social media. While some were misleading or exaggerated, none were actual fake news – in accordance with the definition of a fabricated, politically-motivated story disguised as news.
Full Article: Fake news or hacking absent in Dutch election campaign.