Enough Is Enough

Europe Plans ‘Fake News’ Crackdown on Social-Media Companies

The European Commission—worried that next year’s European elections could be vulnerable to conspiracy theories, fake news, and doctored videos—is eying new powers to crack down on social-media companies that spread “disinformation.” In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal that rocked Facebook, Julian King, the European commissioner for security, wrote in a letter obtained by The Financial Times that there must be a “clear game plan” on how to deal with social-media giants during election periods. “It is clear that the cybersecurity threat we are facing is changing from one primarily targeting systems to one that is also increasingly about deploying cyber means to manipulate behavior, deepen societal divides, subvert our democratic systems, and raise questions about our democratic institutions,“ he wrote. The letter adds that the alleged “psychometric targeting activities” of data analysis companies such as Cambridge Analytica are just a “preview of the profoundly disturbing effects such disinformation could have on the functioning of liberal democracies.”