Facebook, Google and other tech firms have agreed on 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.