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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Social media companies to give monthly reports to the EU

Move motivated by fear of Russia spreading disinformation ahead of Europe elections next summer

Facebook iis among the major social media companies expected to give the monthly updates to the EU (Reuters)
Facebook iis among the major social media companies expected to give the monthly updates to the EU (Reuters)

The European Union is to ask social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google for monthly reports on Russian attempts to spread disinformation ahead elections in the bloc next year, officials said.

The plan is expected to be announced on Wednesday as part of a wider EU onslaught against fake news, with social media platforms asked to give reports to Facebook from January to May 2019, two officials told Politico. Russia, which has repeatedly sought to sow discord by allegedly distorting the truth and promoting incorrect information online, is said to have been singled out in particular because of its dubious record.

The European Commission will be tasked with compiling the reports and is expected to make them public in order to inform the general population of how bots attempt to influence voters. Typically it will include data on fake accounts and political adverts.

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All the companies mentioned have signed up to the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation. As part of that, they are expected to provide the monthly reports.