The European Union released the final report from its High Level Expert Group on fake news, entitled “A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Disinformation,” on March 12. Several of the experts involved in fact-checking and tracking disinformation, including Claire Wardle of First Draft and Alexios Mantzarlis of the International Fact-Checking Network, summed up the main points of the report in a Medium post, which said the report’s contributions include:
Important definitional work rejecting the use of the phrase “fake news”; an emphasis on freedom of expression as a fundamental right; a clear rejection of any attempt to censor content; a call for efforts to counter interference in elections; a commitment by tech platforms to share data; calls for investment in media and information literacy and comprehensive evaluations of these efforts; as well as cross-border research into the scale and impact of disinformation.
Among other things, the group notes that at a time when many governments are trying to pass laws aimed at stamping out fake news, this is not the right approach: “Many political bodies seem to believe that the solution to online disinformation is one simple ‘fake news’ law away, [but] the report clearly spells out that it is not. It urges the need for caution and is skeptical particularly of any regulation of content.”