Disinformation is false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain, and which may cause public harm. Misinformation is false or misleading content shared without harmful intent though the effects can be still harmful.
The spread of both disinformation and misinformation can have a range of harmful consequences, such as threatening our democracies, polarising debates, and putting the health, security and environment of EU citizens at risk.
Large-scale disinformation campaigns are a major challenge for Europe and require a coordinated response from EU countries, EU institutions, online platforms, news media and EU citizens. The Commission has developed a number of initiatives to tackle disinformation:
- the Communication on ‘tackling online disinformation: a European approach’ is a collection of tools to tackle the spread of disinformation and ensure the protection of EU values;
- the Action plan on disinformation aims to strengthen EU capability and cooperation in the fight against disinformation;
- the European Democracy Action Plan develops guidelines for obligations and accountability of online platforms in the fight against disinformation;
- The 2018 Code of Practice on disinformation was the first time worldwide that industry has agreed, on a voluntary basis, to self-regulatory standards to fight disinformation. It aimed at achieving the objectives set out by the Commission's Communication presented in April 2018
- the COVID-19 disinformation monitoring programme, carried out by signatories of the Code of Practice, acted as a transparency measure to ensure online platforms’ accountability in tackling disinformation.
- EDMO is an independent observatory bringing together fact-checkers and academic researchers with expertise in the field of online disinformation, social media platforms, journalist driven media and media literacy practitioners
- the Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation, signed on 16th June 2022, brings together a wide range of players to commit to a broad set of voluntary commitments to counter disinformation