EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

Top EU official : Step up fake news fight at election time.

THE EU'S top official charged with fighting fake news says Europe needs to redouble its efforts to tackle the phenomenon in the run-up to elections, as-

Fears grow about Russia meddling in votes across the continent.

Brussels is working on Europe-wide plan to deal with fake news online, with an expert group to issue a report on Monday and first strategy outlines due to be unveiled next month.

*MOSCOW has been accused of interfering in several recent European votes by using social media to spread bogus news stories and sow discord*.

In January, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans for laws to stop such material spreading in the run-up to elections.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the digital single market and society, told AFP in an interview that the question of Fake News during election campaigns was a key part of the experts group study.

''We must redouble our efforts against fake news during election periods,'' said Gabriel, who took over as Commissioner when fellow Bulgarian Kristalina Georggieva was appointed to the World Bank last year.

''It is at election time when we really see how big an effect this phenomenon can have on voters.''

The expert group includes a representative from AFP, as well as other media companies, campaign groups and web giants Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Part of the project is to define clearly what is meant by Fake News and Gabriel said she would even prefer to drop the term in favor of ''disinformation online.''

''Today we are seeing the perverse effects of the term ''fake news'', which can be used by politicians to discredit their opponents and attack freedom of expression,'' she said. [Agencies].


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