With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people who worry about fake news.
Do you avoid the news, perhaps because you feel you cannot rely on the news to be true? A March 2018 Eurobarometer poll suggested there is great concern among internet users in Europe about fake news: 85 % of respondents see fake news as a problem in their country and 83 % perceive it as a problem for democracy.
The European Union has stepped up its response to this challenge in recent years. In 2015, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini set up a small team to collect and debunk pro-Kremlin anti-EU disinformation. In June 2017, the European Parliament asked the European Commission to take a closer look at fake news and online disinformation.
The EU’s Digital Commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, asked experts from academia, online platforms, news media and civil society for their advice on fake news and online disinformation in October 2017. Gabriel also asked for feedback from the public. According to this public consultation, disinformation aiming to influence elections and migration policies were the top categories where most respondents thought fake news were likely to harm society. The high level expert group advises improvements to: media and information literacy; tools for users and journalists to tackle disinformation; and securing a diverse and sustainable European news media. The EU already supports a number of initiatives to enable all citizens to understand and engage with digital media.
- Questions and Answers about the East StratCom Task Force, https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-Homepage/2116/questions-and-answers-about-east-stratcom-task-force_en
- EPRS publication ‘How to spot when news is fake’, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_ATA%282017%29599386
- European Commission, Digital Single Market policy, Fake news, 26 October 2017, https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/fake-news