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European Commission publishes report on fake news and disinformation

Joint IIC - Italian Chapter and Agcom workshop

The European Commission’s high-level expert group on fake news and disinformation spread online has produced a report that suggests a definition of the phenomenon and makes a series of recommendations. The report complements the first insights from a public consultation and Eurobarometer survey published at the same time. The contributions will feed into a communication on tackling disinformation online that the Commission will publish this spring. The report from the expert group focuses on problems associated with disinformation online rather than fake news. The experts avoided the term “fake news”, saying it is inadequate to capture the complex problems of disinformation that also involves content which blends fabricated information with facts.

The report defines disinformation as false, inaccurate, or misleading information designed, presented and promoted for profit or to intentionally cause public harm. This can threaten democratic processes, values and can specifically target a variety of sectors, such as health, science, education and finance. The report underlines the need to involve all relevant parties in any possible action, recommending first and foremost a self-regulatory approach. The group recommends promoting media literacy to counter disinformation; developing tools for empowering users and journalists to tackle disinformation; safeguarding the diversity and sustainability of European news media; and continuing research on the impact of disinformation in Europe. It also advocates for a code of principles that online platforms and social networks should commit to.

Among the 10 key principles, online platforms should, for instance, ensure transparency by explaining how algorithms select the news put forward. In cooperation with European news outlets, they are also encouraged to take effective measures to improve the visibility of reliable, trustworthy news and facilitate users’ access to it. The group recommends establishing a multistakeholder coalition to ensure that the agreed measures are implemented, monitored and regularly reviewed. Read more

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

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