Wednesday

28th Sep 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

EU told to create coalition against fake news

After almost two months of talks, a panel of experts set up by the EU commission have issued a series of recommendations on how to fight fake news or what they prefer to term 'disinformation'.

Opinion

What von der Leyen's 'State of Union' didn't mention

Ursula von der Leyen barely noticed that European democracy is under attack not only from external threats, but from within. Two of the world's leading autocratic countries are EU member states.

News in Brief

  1. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  2. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  3. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  4. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  5. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  6. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  7. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'
  8. EU okays €21bn Covid-recovery funding for Italy amid concern

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  2. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures
  3. Can King Charles III reset the broken Brexit relationship?
  4. Meloni's navy-blockade plan to stop Libya migrants 'unlikely'
  5. Underwater explosions were detected near Nord Stream leaks
  6. EU countries stall new pesticide rules, blame Ukraine war
  7. The UN's Uyghur report must push EU into China sanctions
  8. Russian diamonds ban 'would cost 10,000 jobs', Antwerp claims

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us