The European Union is serious about cracking down on fake news. So serious that they’ve created East Stratcom, an 11-member team based in Brussels that tries to stem the barrage of fake news.
They look through social media and websites—seeing hundreds of claims and reports each day. The EU has specifically said the team was created in response to “Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns,” according to The New York Times.
The team, which was created just 16 months ago, is made up of former journalists and diplomats who looks through hundreds of reports and then sends out corrections to the public. Since it’s beginning, it has debunked 2,500 articles and claims, many of them said to have come from Russia.
It’s become especially important for the team to do its work because Germany, France and the Netherlands will elect new leaders this year, and fake news can definitely play a role in an election.
According to The Times, many of the fake news articles are about politicians who could pose the biggest threat to Russia. A large portion of them also try to turn people against the acceptance of refugees, calling them terrorists and rapists.
The team’s size is not an advantage to them—they are overwhelmed and the amount of fake news out there is only increasing. They try to use social media to respond to fake news as its happening, and publish a weekly newsletter in addition to a shorter daily report.
Germany, which is also working to fight fake news, has considered fines against companies like Google and Facebook for allowing the fake news to be published, but Google and Facebook argue that they’re not producing the fake news, they’re just a place to publish the news.