EU rebukes Google, Facebook, Twitter for not taking on fake news in run-up to European Parliament election
European Commission which is the independent executive arm of the European Union (EU) rebuked tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter Friday for not doing enough to tackle fake news. The Commission reprimanded the behemoths in the wake of the election campaign to the European Parliament. This comes seven months after the multinational companies promised to take action against fake news.
As per reports, the tech giants took a voluntary pledge in October last year to combat the spread of fake news hoping to avoid more harsh rules. The elections to the European Parliament will be held in 28 countries which make up the European Union, on May 23-26.
Furthermore, international interference during the election campaigns and national elections in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine in the coming months have been a major concern for the Commission as well as EU governments.
"Google, Facebook and Twitter are still falling" (in making efforts to tackle the fake news), the EU executive said in its report in April.
"More needs to be done to strengthen the integrity of their services, including advertising services," the Commission's digital chief Andrus Ansip, Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, Security Commissioner Julian King and Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement to the media.
"The data provided still lacks the level of detail necessary to allow for an independent and accurate assessment of how the platforms' policies have actually contributed to reducing the spread of disinformation in the EU," they added.
Google and Twitter were reportedly criticised for failing to develop and implement policies for identifying and disclosing issue-based advertisements before next week's polls. Such advertisements can give rise to divisive public debate during election campaigns and are prone to misinformation.
On the other hand, Facebook which took down a fake Russian network targeting Ukraine was reproached for not disclosing whether the network also affected users in the EU.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)