Fake News: The EU Commission’s final report

EU Commission set up a High Level Expert Group to advise on how to combat fake news

In January 2018, the European Commission set up a High Level Expert Group (“HLEG“) to advise on how to combat the online dissemination of fake news  and misinformation by examining best practices in the field.

Following an open selection procedure, the Commission appointed 39 experts, a new High Level Group (HLEG) composed of representatives of civil society, social media platforms, media organisations, journalists and academia.

Professor Madeleine de Cock Buning had been appointed President of the Group, University of Utrecht, which specialises in intellectual property, copyright and media and communication law. The group has had (HLEG high leavel group of experts) and aims to assist the Commission in identifying the phenomenon of fake news, defining the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, assessing the positions involved and formulating recommendations. The analysis starts from a shared vision of disinformation as a phenomenon that goes far beyond the term “fake news“. The result is a report that we attach. The meaning of fake news, as defined in this report, means any form of false, inaccurate or misleading information designed, presented and promoted to intentionally cause public harm or profit. It does not include issues arising from the creation and online dissemination of illegal content (in particular defamation, hate speech, incitement to violence), which are subject to regulatory measures under EU or national law, nor other forms of deliberate but not misleading distortions of facts such as satire and parody. The group of experts advises the Commission against simplistic solutions. Any form of censorship, public or private, should clearly be avoided.

The recommendations of the HLEG (HIGH LEVEL GROUP) aim instead at providing short-term responses to the most pressing problems and longer-term responses to increase society’s resilience to misinformation as well as a framework to ensure the effectiveness of these responses, so as to monitor their application and developments.

The multidimensional approach recommended by HLEG is based on a series of responses summarised in :

  • improve the transparency of online news, with adequate and privacy-friendly sharing of data relating to the systems that allow it to circulate online;

  • promote media and information literacy to combat misinformation and help users navigate the digital media environment;

  • Develop tools for users and journalists to address misinformation and promote positive engagement with rapidly evolving information technologies;

  • to safeguard the diversity and sustainability of the European media ecosystem, and

  • Promote continuous research on the impact of misinformation in Europe in order to assess the measures taken by the different actors and constantly adapt the necessary responses.

To complete we report list of participants in the Commission, original link Commission, this text is a translation of the original and published report.

The theme of fake news has become one of the areas of intervention promoted by the Erasmus plus programme both on the basis of national and European priorities.

HLEG list (high level group member)


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