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EU Wants Internet Firms To Intensify Fight Against Fake News

The European Union has called on social-media giants to intensify the fight against disinformation ahead of EU-wide elections this spring.

The European Commission made the call in a report, released on January 29, on how well Internet actors were doing in meeting pledges made last year to tackle fake news online.

There have been concerns that third parties such as Russia could try to influence the upcoming polls in order to boost populist, Euroskeptic parties.

"We need to go further and faster before May," when a new European Parliament is elected, Julian King, the EU's commissioner responsible for security matters, said in a statement.

In September, Facebook, Google, Mozilla, and Twitter signed up to an EU code of conduct to tackle fake news online.

It commits companies to actions such as flagging political advertising, closing fake accounts, and helping people make informed decisions.

"We are stepping up a pace on all fronts to ensure free and fair elections," EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said. "I expect companies will fully follow on their rhetoric and commitment."

On January 28, Facebook said it will launch in late March additional tools to "prevent foreign interference" in the EU elections and "make political advertising on Facebook more transparent."

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa