EU finally establishes Minitrue 34 years late

The 26 April press release from the EU says:

Measures to tackle disinformation online

To address these concerns and trends, the Commission is proposing a series of measures to tackle disinformation online. These include:

  • A Code of Practice on Disinformation:?By July, and as a first step, online platforms should develop and follow a common Code of Practice with the aim of:
    • Ensuring transparency about sponsored content, in particular political advertising, as well as restricting targeting options for political advertising and reducing revenues for purveyors of disinformation;
    • Providing greater clarity about the functioning of algorithms and enabling third-party verification;
    • Making it easier for users to discover and access different news sources representing alternative viewpoints;
    • Introducing measures to identify and close fake accounts and to tackle the issue of automatic bots;
    • Enabling fact-checkers, researchers and public authorities to continuously monitor online disinformation;
  • An independent European network of fact-checkers:?this will establish common working methods, exchange best practices, and work to achieve the broadest possible coverage of factual corrections across the EU; they will be selected from the EU members of the?International Fact Checking Network?which follows a strict International Fact Checking Network Code of Principles;
  • A secure European online platform on disinformation?to support the network of fact-checkers and relevant academic researchers with cross-border data collection and analysis, as well as access to EU-wide data;
  • Enhancing media literacy:?Higher level of media literacy will help Europeans to identify online disinformation and approach online content with a critical eye.To this end, the Commission will encourage fact-checkers and civil society organisations to provide educational material to schools and educators and organise a European Week of Media Literacy;
  • Support for Member States in ensuring the resilience of elections?against increasingly complex cyber threats, including online disinformation and cyber attacks;
  • Promotion of voluntary online identification systems?to improve the traceability and identification of suppliers of information and promote more trust and reliability in online interactions and in information and its sources;
  • Support for quality and diversified information:?The Commission is calling on Member States to scale up their support of quality journalism to ensure a pluralistic, diverse and sustainable media environment. The Commission will launch a call for proposals in 2018 for the production and dissemination of quality news content on EU affairs through data-driven news media;
  • A Coordinated Strategic Communication Policy, drafted by the Commission services, combining current and future EU initiatives on online disinformation with those of Member States, will set out outreach activities aimed at countering false narratives about Europe and tackling disinformation within and outside the EU. End of quote.

An independent European network of fact-checkers:”? Well, that sounds like a good start. Independent, not run by the government seems healthy.? There was a link to the International Fact Checking Network: that sounded promising so clicked on that and found that they have a code of principles.? Another positive. Quote:

  1. A COMMITMENT TO NONPARTISANSHIP AND FAIRNESS?We fact-check claims using the same standard for every fact check. We do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side. We follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we fact-check.

  2. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF SOURCES?We want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves. We provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate our work, except in cases where a source?s personal security could be compromised. In such cases, we provide as much detail as possible.

  3. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDING & ORGANIZATION?We are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funding from other organizations, we ensure that funders have no influence over the conclusions we reach in our reports. We detail the professional background of all key figures in our organization and explain our organizational structure and legal status. We clearly indicate a way for readers to communicate with us.

  4. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF METHODOLOGY?We explain the methodology we use to select, research, write, edit, publish and correct our fact checks. We encourage readers to send us claims to fact-check and are transparent on why and how we fact-check.

  5. A COMMITMENT TO OPEN AND HONEST CORRECTIONS?We publish our corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. We correct clearly and transparently in line with our corrections policy, seeking so far as possible to ensure that readers see the corrected version. End of quote.

All very impressive.

That is followed by an extensive list of signatories.? Scanning down that list I came across an entry for the “Climate Feedback” group.? Being reasonably well informed on the climate debate, I followed the link.

The first click on that site took me to their “fact checking” on a claim:?“There isn?t any warming. All they?ve got is computer model predictions, folks. There isn?t yet any empirical evidence for their claim that greenhouse gases even cause temperatures to increase. There isn?t any empirical data for that.”

The independent fact checker’s response: Quote:

Considering multiple lines of evidence, the?IPCC concluded?that it is ?extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.? […]?But the past century of measurements mean that around 97% of specialists now agree that humans are the main cause of global warming, and [the] claim is false. […] End of quote.

Oh dear ….??I read no further.

I do wish that they would stop using Orwell’s novel as an instruction book.

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