Fake news not only causes public harm – it is also harmful to business

Brussels 27 April 2018: The European Commission yesterday published its Communication on disinformation which is aimed at restoring trust in online information and democratic institutions and processes. In the run up to the publication, advertising has been named as one of the driving factors behind the dissemination of disinformation, because it allegedly supports websites that spread fake news.

While the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) has welcomed the Commission’s commitment to tackle disinformation, it cautions that it is important to keep in mind that disinformation not only causes public harm, it also causes harm to businesses, brands and their reputations, which depend heavily on consumer trust.

“Advertisers and agencies have a strong interest in not being associated with fake news. In fact, they invest substantially in brand safety and viewability tools, which help prevent ads being placed near fake news content. They want their ads to be displayed in the right place at the right time and they want them to be seen by real people, not by bots”, says Tamara Daltroff, Director of European Affairs at EACA.

In fact, communications agencies form only a small fraction of those operating advertising networks, yet they exert much tighter controls on ad placements given their clients’ vested interest in brand safety.

EACA would welcome the opportunity to become part of the proposed multi-stakeholder forum and share the industry’s experiences with these tools and provide clarifications around the advertising ecosystem.

For more information, contact: Nina Elzer (nina.elzer@eaca.eu

About EACA

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.