The High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and Disinformation – appointed by the European Commission to advise on policy initiatives and formulate recommendations – published their final report on 12 March 2018.
The 39 experts comprised members of academia and journalism, written press and broadcasting organisations, online platforms as well as civil society and fact-checking organisations. In their final report, the experts lay down a code of practice for stakeholders to follow in the fight against fake news and online disinformation.
EACA agrees with the expert group that fake news can be considered as a global concern and therefore welcomes any recommendations to address the problem. Besides creating numerous challenges for citizens and democracy, the exploitation of online advertising on fake news websites causes reputational concerns for publishers, brands, advertisers and other players in the digital advertising value chain.
EACA welcomes the high-level expert group’s Code of Practice, self-regulatory approach and collaboration with online platforms to address the issue. Particularly the recommendation for online platforms to provide more data for advertisers is important in this respect, allowing greater transparency in the placement of ads.
Secondly, EACA welcomes the explicit endorsement of the advertising industry’s ‘Follow the Money’ initiative which is aimed at tackling the misplacement of advertisements on intellectual property infringing websites. EACA is supportive of the further development of this initiative with the help of other stakeholders.
Thirdly, EACA shares the need for action to promote the use of media and information literacy initiatives to counter disinformation. This and other recommendations which were published in a joint industry paper issued on 23 February 2018 can be read here.
The European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) represents more than 2 500 communications agencies and agency associations from nearly 30 European countries that directly employ more than 120 000 people. EACA members include advertising, media, digital, branding and PR agencies. They create and place adverts and develop brand-building campaigns.