Brussels tackles fake news

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By Euronews
Brussels tackles fake news

Internet giants Facebook, Twitter and Google were all at the table in Brussels on Monday to discuss the problem of fake news and online disinformation.

Joining them at the newly appointed High Level Expert Group on fake news and online disinformation were representatives from media, academia and civil society.

Mariya Gabriel is European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and set up the expert group.

"Undeniably, the question of the responsibility of the role of platforms and social networks is already part of our work," she told euronews ahead of Monday's meeting. "Today, what I would like is that we don't anticipate the work of the experts, out of respect for them, rather that they tell us what the responsibility might be. What are the instruments at our disposal and then to advise us, from the european perspective, about what we can do".

There is increasing global concern about the threat "fake news" poses to democratic societies, where disinformation can be easily and widely shared online. The challenge: how to stem its flow without impinging on the right to free speech.

"It's a problem with the big social media networks and of course their main interest is to gather information and to gather clicks and to gather the profiles of the users," says Lutz Kinkel, Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. "And they are not really interested in reducing the range of trafic they have".

Lawmakers are now calling on these networks to think beyond the bottom line and be part of the solution.

A European Commission Communication on fake news is expected in late April.