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Spanish police to watch web for fake news before vote

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MADRID (Reuters) - A team of more than 100 Spanish police officers will trawl the internet for signs of fake news and cyber attacks in the build-up to next month’s snap election, the interior ministry said on Friday.

Officials will keep a particularly close eye on Facebook, its WhatsApp messaging app, Twitter and other social media networks under a security plan to protect the vote, the ministry added.

Social media giants have promised to do more to remove misleading postings and make it easier for voters to identify political campaign ads on their networks.

But the European Commission said last month that Google, Facebook and Twitter had fallen short of their pledges before a run of key European polls.

Russia has denied accusations that it helped spread false information to influence the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s referendum on European Union membership in 2016 and Germany’s national election in 2017.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called snap elections for April 28 last month after his socialist minority government failed to pass his 2019 budget.

The new security plan would be launched on April 1, the interior ministry said.

Editing by Paul Day and Andrew Heavens