EU wants monthly report from tech companies about Russian fake news

The European Commission wants monthly reports on disinformation from Facebook, Google and Twitter. It is part of an action plan to combat fake news that has been presented today.

The committee explicitly deals with disinformation campaigns from Russia. European Commissioner Andrus Ansip, who is responsible for the unification of the digital market, calls the country the “primary source”.

The committee wants the tech companies to share this information with a view to the elections to the European Parliament in May. The intention is for the social media companies to publish the reports from January to May.

In addition, there must be an alert system to warn national authorities if they are bombarded with fake news. This is also intended to monitor national elections in the EU in 2020.

Create awareness

The European Commission writes in the press release to also publish the first report, according to Politico This also applies to the reports that follow. The reports should describe how tech companies label political ads, how many bots and fake accounts have been identified and removed, and how the collaboration with fact checkers and researchers is progressing.

Brussels hopes to raise awareness among European voters of foreign parties and how they try to influence the elections.

Prior to the US interim elections, Facebook published several times about fake accounts that had been found and deleted. But that was on a voluntary basis and not monthly.

More money

The European Commission is investing more money in combating disinformation. The budget of the European External Action Service goes from € 1.9 million to € 5 million. This service includes, among other things, the EUvsDisinfo website, which keeps fake news lists. The site was under fire earlier this year because there were also Dutch media on those lists.

Madeleine de Cock Buning, chairman of the most important EU advisory group on fake news, advised on this not to make fake new lists in the EU. Has EUvsDisinfo promised that no Dutch media will appear on the fake news list anymore, the site will focus on Russian media and media in neighboring countries of Russia.

The NOS asked Facebook, Google and Twitter for comments, but the companies did not yet want to comment on content.