The European Commission recently launched a public consultation on Fake news and Online disinformation. The consultation will collect views from all parties concerned by fake news across the EU as regard the scope of the problem and the effectiveness of voluntary measures already put in place by industry to prevent the spread of disinformation online. The objective is also to better understand the rationale and possible directions for action at EU and/or national level. The results of the public consultation will help assess the effectiveness of current actions by market players and other stakeholders, the need for scaling them up and introducing new actions to address different types of fake news.
COFACE Families Europe will respond to the consultation. Our initial thoughts are that it is really important today not to go down the line of censorship and/or sorting the “fake” news from “real” news. Obviously, content which otherwise violates community standards with openly racist, xenophobic content or directly inciting violence, should be taken down. However, sorting “fake” news from “real” news might be ideologically tinted and very hard to put in practice. There have been many examples throughout history where “mainstream” media have shared wildly inaccurate news. In any case, we believe that diversifying the access to various points of views about the same story and relying on people’s critical thinking skills to make their own opinions by comparing sources should be the right approach. News sources should be algorithmically diversified, and companies should work on developing a solution in cooperation with civil society and regulators.
Two questionnaires are available for the consultation: one for the citizens and one for legal persons and journalists reflecting their professional experience of fake news and online disinformation.
The consultation will close on 23 February 2018.
You can reply in any EU language here