Saturday

24th Feb 2018

Commission to float anti-'fake news' proposals in spring

  • Facebook offers the biggest platform in terms of readership for fake news, but all social media can be affected (Photo: Eduardo Woo)

The European Commission will be proposing EU-level plans before the summer on how to tackle fake news.

Mariya Gabriel, the EU commissioner for digital economy, told reporters in Brussels on Monday (15 January) that its future proposals would be sourced from a group of experts that includes Silicon valley tech firms, academics, journalists, and others.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Dutch academic de Cock Buning (l) and digital commissioner Gabriel (Photo: European Commission)

"Fake news is spreading at a worrying rate, it threatens the reputation of the media and the well-being of our democracies and threatens to undermine our democratic values," she said.

The task is tricky given most fake news is not illegal, posing larger questions on the freedom of expression and information.

The group, which met for the first time on Monday, is composed of some 40 people assigned to provide the commission with options on how to prevent the dissemination of fake news both online and offline.

"It is in the light of this that I think we will be able to identify the best ways of tackling the problem," said Gabriel.

A separate public consultation was also launched last November. Its outcome, due at the end of February, is also set to feed into the commission plans.

Wicked problem

Madeleine de Cock Buning, a Dutch university professor, presides over the group of 40.

"We have to face this wicked problem," she said, speaking alongside Gabriel at a joint press conference.

Cock Buning also chairs the European Regulators Group for Audio-visual Media Services, an advisory body of EU national regulators.

Outstanding issues on how to define fake news and who would enforce the rules remain unanswered.

But she said the group would most likely propose a multi-dimensional solution that includes different levels of regulation.

"We are in the process of discovering of what would be the most efficient to do, also taking care of the freedom of information aspect," she said.

National elections

One Oxford University study looked at 28 million feeds shared in political debates and elections in the US, UK, France, and Germany.

It found a seven-to-one real news versus fake news ratio in France. The UK and Germany had a ratio of four-to-one. Such figures have political leaders worried.

Earlier this month, French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to introduce a law to ban fake news on the internet during French election campaigns.

But the French move has its sceptics.

Pierre Haski, who heads Reporters without Borders, told the French literary magazine Le Nouveau that Macron's plan will end up targeting sponsored content and not fake news.

"You have to be extremely vigilant when putting together this type of legal text in order not to open the Pandora box," he warned.

EU Commission to target fake news

Mariya Gabriel, the EU digital economy commissioner, announces expert panel and says fake news can be tackled if people are given credible and diverse information.

Macron vows law against fake news

French president Emmanuel Macron has promised legislation to block the spread of fake news, as part of a broader effort to protect liberal democracies from Russian propaganda.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table