A High Level Expert Group on Fake News (HLEG) advised the Commission on tackling online disinformation. It was made up of representatives of the civil society, social media platforms, news media organisations, journalists and academia. Among them were Alina Bârgăoanu, professor and the dean of the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations at SNSPA. The Group’s conclusions and recommendations were published in March 2018.

In April 2018, the European Commission proposed a series of measures to tackle online disinformation. These include a Code of Practice on Disinformation.

This Code is developed by a Multistakeholder Forum which includes representatives of online platforms, the advertising industry and advertisers, academics, media and civil society organisations. The Forum is comprised of two sub-groups: a Working Group, and a Sounding Board.

In July, the Working Group of the Multistakeholder Forum on online disinformation has delivered a draft Code of Practice to tackle online disinformation.

The Code of Practice on Disinformation should lead to a reduction of online disinformation by addressing the following five main areas:

  • Improving the scrutiny of ad placements to demonetize purveyors of disinformation;
  • Ensuring transparency of political advertising and issue-based advertising to enable users to identify promoted content;
  • Ensuring the integrity of platforms’ services including by identifying and closing fake accounts and using appropriate mechanisms to signal bot-driven interactions;
  • Making it easier for users to discover and access different news sources representing alternative viewpoints;
  • Empowering the research community by granting access to platforms’ data that are necessary to continuously monitor online disinformation.

The Sounding Board is expected to deliver its opinion on the draft Code by early September. A final Code of Practice on Online Disinformation is expected in September.