Fake news and online disinformation
The label “fake news” is a recent addition to the news media vocabulary. According to Google Trends it led a relatively obscure life for many years, until the US presidential elections in November 2016 when its frequency as a search term suddenly increased very sharply.
Disinformation – or fake news – consists of verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm. Social media and online platforms play an important role in speeding up the spread of such news and they enable a global reach without much effort from the author.
As such, disinformation is an evolving challenge, with high potential to negatively influence democratic processes and societal debates. In a bid to protect its democratic systems and in view of the 2019 European elections, the European Commission, earlier this month, presented an Action Plan to tackle disinformation in Europe and beyond.
The action plan titled – “Tackling online disinformation: a European approach”, focuses on four main principles:
- Improve transparency regarding the way information is produced or sponsored;
- Diversity of information;
- Credibility of information;
- Inclusive solutions with broad stakeholder involvement.
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