The term Fake News, more frequently described as the ‘dissemination of online disinformation’, has recently received a lot of media attention as a potential disruptor of democratic processes globally. There is a need to initiate a dialogue in the EU around the possible responses to this phenomenon. In this regard: the misuse of a computer connected to the internet, a compromised online account, a fake online account, or online platforms, may be characterised as a threat where posting on social media, emails, spam and other online activities can cause damage to others, as well as to our society at large.
Under the moderation of the Vice-President of the European Parliament, the Executive Director of ENISA, Professor Udo Helmbrecht and Paolo Cesarini, DG Connect of the European Commission, introduced the policy perspective. Veronika Víchová, representative of the European Values think tank, and Katarina Kertysova, representative of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, represented the academic perspective. Google senior analyst Christian Wagner represented the industry perspective. They gathered to openly discuss the upcoming challenges and opportunities concerning Fake News in the European Union.
The speakers were asked to provide their views, representing EU policy, think tanks, and the industry perspective in order to develop a clearer picture on the current state of art of the public debate. One of the main challenges discussed was the current leaning in the EU towards self-regulation over regulation. The guests all pointed out relevant initiatives, but emphasized that continuous investment and engagement is required to be able to address and hopefully solve this challenge. The conclusion was therefore to continue the debate and create more awareness on the topic, invest in innovative solutions and evaluate, and finally focus on the empowerment of the public.
ENISA’s Executive Director, Prof. Udo Helmbrecht, advised people to "be resistant to fake news: stop, think and then respond”.
In April 2018, the European Commission published its Communication “Tackling Online Disinformation: A European Approach”. As input to this process, ENISA presented an Opinion Paper to the Commission.
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