EU wants feedback on impact of fake news to help draft strategy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is seeking feedback on the impact of fake news as part of a move to help the bloc’s 500 million citizens assess news sources and make sure that social platforms such as Facebook live up to their responsibilities.

Concerns about fake news arose after accusations of Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election to prevent Democrat Hillary Clinton winning and in this year’s French presidential election in which eventual winner Emmanuel Macron’s team complained his campaign was targeted by a “massive and coordinated” hacking operation.

Russia has denied meddling in foreign elections.

The European Commission, the EU executive, said it wanted input from EU citizens, online platforms and news media in the public consultation which kicked off on Monday.

It will also set up a group of academics, online platforms, news media and civil society organisations to assist it.

“We live in an era where the flow of information and misinformation has become almost overwhelming,” Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said in a statement.

“That is why we need to give our citizens the tools to identify fake news, improve trust online, and manage the information they receive.”

Respondents have until February to comment on the issue after which the Commission will present a strategy next spring.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee