The Commission has appointed 39 experts to the new High Level Group on fake news and online disinformation. The Group will contribute to the development of an EU-level strategy on how to tackle fake news, to be presented in spring 2018. It comprises representatives of civil society, social media, online platforms, news media organisations and academia.

The High Level Expert Group will advise the Commission on scoping the phenomenon of fake news, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations.

Professor dr. Madeleine de Cock Buning from Utrecht University specialised in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Media and Communication Law is nominated to chair the Group.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy and Society, highlighted the crucial contribution of the Group to the discussions on fake news.

Through a collective effort and the sharing of experiences between platforms, media, civil society, academia and journalists, as well as the public sector, I strongly believe that we will be able to identify effective actions to fight against the epidemic of false information and disinformation online while respecting the fundamental principles.

The High Level Expert Group will be composed of 39 members representing a wide range of expertise, ensuring a balanced view of both social media and online media platforms, civil society organisation and experts such as journalists and academia from a majority of EU Member States. The Group members were selected by the European Commission experts from more than 300 applications received. The call was published in November 2017.

The problem of fake news is complex, global and does not have any borders. Social networks and online platforms need to be responsible players of a fair internet ecosystem. These media carry the main responsibility to act against fake news. It is clear that next to national rules, a European approach is needed to ensure coherence in tackling the issue of fake news.

The Group first meets on 15 January 2018. Its main role will be to support the Commission in designing its policy in the field of fake news and online disinformation. The Group is expected to deliver a report which will feed into the Commission Communication on fake news and online disinformation planned for late April 2018.

Background

The establishment of the High Level Expert Group on Fake news was announced by the Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Gabriel on 13 November 2017 at the multi-stakeholder conference on fake news. The list of members and all other relevant documents, including the agendas, the minutes and the participants' submissions, will be made available via the Commission's Register of Expert Groups.

In his mission letter to Commissioner Gabriel, President Juncker asked to look more closely into the issue of fake news. He wrote: "The Commission needs to look into the challenges the online platforms create for our democracies as regards the spreading of fake information and initiate a reflection on what would be needed at EU level to protect our citizens."

In its June 2017 report on "online platforms and the digital single market", the European Parliament called on the Commission to analyse in depth the current situation and legal framework with regard to fake news, and to verify the possibility of legislative intervention to limit the dissemination and spreading of fake content.

For more information

List of Members
Overview of Commissions activities to tackle fake news
Call for applications for the selection of members of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News