The European Commission intensifies its battle against disinformation

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The European Commission has called on the signatories of the Code of Practice to intensify their efforts against disinformation online, in the run-up to the European elections in May.

The European elections are ahead in May 2019. According to the European Commission, 73 percent of internet users are concerned about disinformation online in the pre-election period.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “With the launch of European election network with EU authorities last week and this report today, we are stepping up the pace on all fronts to ensure free and fair elections. I expect companies will fully follow up on their rhetoric and commitment. Time is short so we need to act now.”

What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation?

Disinformation is defined as deliberately misleading information. While misinformation is still false information, it was not intended to deceive people.

How can fake accounts and bots be reduced?

Referring to the Code of Practice, the Commission states: “By implementing the commitments set out in the Code, the signatories will increase transparency for European citizens about political advertising and will limit techniques such as the malicious use of bots and fake accounts.”

“Through the Code, the signatories have committed to help counter mass online disinformation campaigns intended to polarise public opinion or sow distrust in the European institutions, especially in relation to national elections in Member States and the European Parliament elections.”

Can more be done to empower consumers?

“However, some consumer empowerment tools such as the context button or the cooperation with fact-checkers are not yet available throughout the EU, and more clarity on deployment plans across the EU would be welcome.”

Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union added: “Given the proximity of the European elections, any progress made in the fight against disinformation is welcome. But we need to go further and faster before May. We don’t want to wake up the day after the elections and realise we should have done more.”

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