After talk with Google's Sundar, EU's Jourova says seeks more transparency on fake news

FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is shown at one of the company's office complexes in Irvine, California, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Alphabet unit Google needs to be more transparent about how it is fighting the spread of “fake news,” European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said on Monday after a video conference with the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai.

The spread of disinformation via the internet has triggered concerns worldwide, with governments and regulators trying to contain the problem especially with regards to elections, political advertising and the COVID19 pandemic.

“I called for introducing tools to enable more transparent and responsible advertising and for working with the wider ecosystem. I told Mr. Pichai that, if done right, such tools could contribute to reducing monetisation of disinformation,” Jourova said in a statement after her talk with Pichai.

Jourova, who has previously criticised tech giants for making money out of the spread of fake news, last week launched her European Democracy Action Plan to counter disinformation, boost media freedom and promote free and fair elections.

“I was pleased to hear that Google limits its targeting for political advertisement, but our legislation will aim broader, to cover also so-called ‘issue-based ads’,” she said, referring to Commission draft rules to be presented on Dec. 15 by EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager.

Jourova also urged Google to ensure a fairer distribution of revenues from news articles to European publishers which have long complained about free riding by the company. The company has recently inked deals with several European media groups.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall