S&Ds: EU must get tough on fake news

fake news

In today’s era of ‘alternative facts’, the left must fight back against the dangerous tide of fake news on social media. Speaking in a debate in Strasbourg, S&D MEPs today called upon the EU to do more to tackle the rise of fake news across Europe.

S&D Group vice-president and spokesperson on this issue, Tanja Fajon, said:

“It only takes a quick scroll down Donald Trump’s Twitter feed to see just how detached some of today’s political rhetoric has become from the truth. Whilst lies and propaganda are not a new phenomenon, the use of social media channels now enables entirely fabricated stories to be read and shared by millions of people with a single click.

“This trend is deeply problematic in a world where over half of the European population rely on social media as a news source, with a third of young Europeans using it as their main news source. The fight against fake news is therefore increasingly becoming an EU priority.

“The S&D Group is committed to be at the forefront of this important fight. We believe it is crucial to counteract the trend of fake news by striving for better quality, more transparent journalism and using EU funds to establish specific educational programs in order to improve media literacy amongst our youth. We are also calling on the Commission to explore the available legal options to challenge illegal content online. Finally, we must encourage social media channels themselves to take measures to eliminate fake news and hate speech which appear on their websites.

“If we do not win this battle, fake news and propaganda will provoke fear, leading to apathy, chaos or completely irrational decisions. We must not let lies dictate the truth of what is going on in our society."