The European Commission is discussing with platforms, news media, research and civil society organisations in order to design solutions to address the spread of fake news. The aim is to define the actors’ responsibilities, while respecting the freedom of expression, media pluralism, and the right of citizens to diverse and reliable information.
The Commission has launched a public consultation to gather the views of a wide range of stakeholders on fake news. COFACE Families Europe has responded to the consultation. To see our response click here
While measures such as education, critical thinking and overall improvement of the quality of news online are necessary, COFACE Families Europe is of the opinion that clearly differentiating between “fake” and “real” news is not as easy as it may sound.
Rather, COFACE Families Europe recommends that the EU Commission encourages or mandates online service providers and especially social media platforms to diversity, via the use of algorithms, their users’ exposure to a variety of points of view on the same topic. Looking into alternative and viable business models for online content besides the current one relying on advertising could help increase the quality of online content overall. For instance, paying content providers based on the time that users spend on their article rather than how many clicks an article receives could promote quality over quantity and click-baiting.
Finally, COFACE Families Europe wishes to underline that the phenomenon and appeal of “fake news” does not appear in a “void”. This is clearly linked to growing inequalities and socio-economic tensions inside our societies. Making sure that European citizens have a confident and positive outlook on the future will greatly diminish their appetite for “conspiracy theory” and fake news articles explaining the reasons of their misery in simplistic terms (blaming migrants, Muslims, gays or even Europe, as it was done during the Brexit campaign).
More information about Fake news here