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Google, Facebook, Twitter knocked not doing enough in EU-fake-news-battle

FILE PHOTO: Facebook and Twitter logos are seen in a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook, Google and Twitter were reprimanded by the European Commission on Friday, not doing enough to tackle fake news under the election campaign for the European Parliament, seven months after promising to do more.

The tech giants took a voluntary promise in October last year to combat the spread of fake news, in the hope to prevent more heavy-handed rules. The elections for the European Parliament will be held in the 28 countries of the European Union on May 23-26.

Foreign intervention during the campaign and in the national elections in Belgium, Denmark, germany, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine in the coming months is an important focus for the Commission and the governments of the EU.

Facebook, Google and Twitter are still declining, the EU executive said in its report on their efforts in April.

“More needs to be done to strengthen the integrity of their services, including advertising services,” the Commission’s digital chief Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova, Safety Commissioner Julian King and the Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement.

“The data still lacks the level of detail required to ensure an independent and proper assessment of how the platforms’ policies have actually contributed to reducing the spread of disinformation in the EU,” they said.

Google and Twitter have been criticized for failing to develop and implement policies for the identification and disclosure of problem-based ads for next week’s vote. These ads stoke divisive public debate during the elections and are susceptible to misinformation.

Facebook, which put on a fake Russian network targeting Ukraine, was knocked not say whether the network is also involved users in the EU.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens

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