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Young people on social media
Young people on social media

False or misleading information

The European Union has been warning against false information for some time now. According to Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for the digital single market, Russia in particular disseminates fake news messages, often during election time. This is mostly done online and on social media. In December 2018, European Commissioner Ansip said that European countries should cooperate better in tackling fake news. The EU itself will also alert society to false information.

The House: EU goes too far

Many parliamentary groups in the House of Representatives were of the opinion that the EU went too far, last year, in tackling disinformation. In 2018, the EU accused several Dutch news sites of disseminating fake news. A majority of the House was of the opinion that the EU interfered with the free press in the Netherlands. That is why the House adopted a motion, calling on the government to have the EU shut down the taskforce in charge of debunking disseminators of fake news.

New approach

The European Commission did not shut down the task force. In December 2018 the EU did announce, however, that it would change its working method and stop labelling individual news sites as disseminators of fake news. The EU is also hiring more experts, to carry out research into disinformation more carefully. The Cabinet takes a positive stance towards these changes. The House of Representatives still has to make up its mind. That is why the committee will have a debate with Ms Ollongren, minister of the Interior, in the follow-up to the meeting with the European Commissioner. This debate is to take place on Thursday 21 February 2019.