Skip to main content

Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news. It's important to know that “the HLEG (European Commission’s High level Group on fake news and online disinformation) deliberately avoid the term ‘fake news’

The HLEG do this for two reasons.

Firstly the term is inadequate to capture the complex problem of disinformation, which involves content that is not actually or completely “fake” but fabricated information blended with facts, and practices that go well beyond anything resembling “news” to include some forms of automated accounts used for astroturfing, networks of fake followers, fabricated or manipulated videos, targeted advertising, organized trolling, visual memes, and much more. It can also involve a whole array of digital behaviour that is more about circulation of disinformation than about production of disinformation, spanning from posting, commenting, sharing, tweeting and re-tweeting etc.

Secondly, the term ‘fake news’ is not only inadequate, but also misleading, because it has been appropriated by some politicians and their supporters, who use the term to dismiss coverage that they find disagreeable, and has thus become a weapon with which powerful actors can interfere in circulation of information and attack and undermine independent news media. Research has shown that citizens often associate the term ‘fake news’ with partisan political debate and poor journalism broadly, rather than more pernicious and precisely defined forms of disinformation.”

Source: European Commission (2018) - A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation Report of the independent High level Group on fake news and online disinformation.