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Google, Facebook to tackle spread of fake news



Facebook , Google and other tech firms have agreed a code of conduct to do more to tackle the spread of fake news , due to concerns it can influence elections, the European Commission said on Wednesday .“ Intended to stave off more heavy- handed legislation , the voluntary code covers closer scrutiny of advertising on accounts and websites where fake news appears .

“ Thereby working with fact checkers to filter it out , ’’ the commission said .

However , a group of media advisors criticised the companies , also including Twitter and lobby groups for the advertising industry for failing to present more concrete measures .
Brussels , with EU parliamentary elections scheduled for May , is anxious to address the threat of foreign interference during campaigning .

Belgium, Denmark , Estonia , Finland , Greece , Poland , Portugal and Ukraine are also all due to hold national elections in 2019 .

Russia has faced allegations , which it denies, of disseminating false information to influence the U . S . presidential election and Britain ’ s referendum on EU membership in 2016 as well as Germany ’ s national election in 2017 .

The commission told the firms in April to draft a code of practice , or face regulatory action over what it said was their failure to do enough to remove misleading or illegal content .

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European Digital Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said that Facebook , Google , Twitter , Mozilla and advertising groups had responded with several measures .

“ The industry is committing to a wide range of actions , from transparency in political advertising to the closure of fake accounts and we welcome this , ” she said in a statement .

The steps also include rejecting payment from sites that spread fake news , helping users understand why they have been targeted by specific ads , and distinguishing ads from editorial content .

However , the advisory group criticised the code , saying the companies had not offered measurable objectives to monitor its implementation .

“ The platforms, despite their best efforts , have not been able to deliver a code of practice within the accepted meaning of effective and accountable self- regulation, ” the group said , giving no further details .

Its members include the Association of Commercial Television in Europe , the European Broadcasting Union , the European Federation of Journalists and International Fact – Checking Network , and several academics .

( Reuters / NAN )

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