Agora: Fake News & why it's threatening your business

24 May 2018

14:00-15:15 | Sax Room


Jamie Shea


Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges

Jennifer Baker


Eu Policy Correspondent

Hans Van Der Loo

Institute of Integrated Economic Research

Chairman, Advisory Board

Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon

European Research Council



The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations show how, in an increasingly digitised world, data can be exploited and reminds companies of the importance to ensure transparency about how they use consumer information. At a time when citizens and businesses depend on a constant flow of data and information, the widespread loss of trust can have grave consequences for all.

Trust, the backbone of business-client relationship and a valuable business commodity, lies at the centre of present-day discussions about the impact of disinformation online. When presenting on April 26 its measures to tackle fake news, the European Commission defined disinformation as “verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm.”Amongst its proposed measures is the establishment of an EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation for online platforms, aimed at producing measurable effects by October 2018.

The impact of fake news – and the resulting loss of trust – in the wider economic fabric cannot be overlooked. Modern technologies offer new ways of enhancing customer experience by using customer data, but can also be employed in large-scale disinformation campaigns, with great speed and precision. Consumers could become the collateral damage of a (des)information arms race between competing firms. Yet, businesses are part of the solution: Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip recognises that “new technologies, especially digital, have expanded its reach via the online environment to undermine our democracy and society. Since online trust is easy to break but difficult to rebuild, industry needs to work together with us on this issue.”

The message is clear: with the entering into force of the GDPR, all actors are called to play their role in tackling the disinformation challenge. Are European businesses ready to rise up to this challenge?