BRUSSELS: The European Commission has urged Google, Facebook, Twitter and Mozilla to do more to combat fake news as Europeans head towards an election.
Companies and trade bodies representing the advertising industry signed up to a voluntary code of conduct in October to ward off more heavy-handed legislation. But critics said the companies have not done enough since they signed up the voluntary code of conduct.
The European Union’s executive said that the signatories of the code had taken steps to remove fake accounts and limit sites promoting fake news but they needed more to combat the fake news.
“Now they should make sure these tools are available to everyone across the EU, monitor their efficiency, and continuously adapt to new means used by those spreading disinformation. There is no time to waste,” EU Commissioner for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said.
European Parliament will hold elections in May while Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine all go to the polls in coming months.
Russia was accused of influencing the US presidential election and Britain’s referendum on European Union membership in 2016, as well as Germany’s national election in 2017 by spreading false information.
The commission asked Facebook to clear as to how it uses its tools to fight fake news and told Google to expand its actions to more EU countries.
The commission also asked Twitter to provide more details on its measures while it said Mozilla’s online browser should have more information on how it would limit details about users’ browsing activities.