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EU fake news fight 'clashing with right to freedom of expression'

EU fake news fight 'clashing with right to freedom of expression'
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By Damon Embling
Published on Updated
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Brussels is battling hard against disinformation online, but a group of lawyers is questioning methods used in Russia campaign

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How often do you question what you're reading online? The EU's so worried about fake news that it's formulating a fight against it - and already has a team working to challenge what's described as "Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns."

Internet users in Brussels want to see action.

"We should not only stop the content, but fight it with arguments," one man told Euronews.

Another added: "I think it's such a big problem that something has to be sorted out. We're so connected now. Geopolitics is so complicated people need to understand the complexity."

Those behind the EU's Russia campaign say it's about documenting disinformation and debunking myths. But a group of lawyers is launching a complaint with the EU Ombudsman about its methods.

"My worst suspicions were confirmed when they answered saying they followed an ad-hoc method in classifying information, which departs from international standards," said Alberto Alemanno, a professor of EU law and regulation at HEC Paris.

"The current system although well-intention'ed it is currently clashing with the right to freedom of expression."

It all comes as Facebook faces uproar among users.

There are complaints relating to the alleged harvesting of data by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Questions are also being raised about the spread of fake news and use of the network to manipulate elections.

Facebook says it's "fact-checking" photos and videos to reduce hoaxes and false stories.

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