Labour demands action from media and tech firms to curb ‘fake news’

Labour demands action from media and tech firms to curb ‘fake news’

Britain’s opposition Labour party has demanded that technology companies and the media do more to curb the pernicious spread of ‘fake news’ to prevent politics from being ‘infected by this contagion’.

A report compiled by former shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher said that the spread of demonstrably false stories was now a problem which was no longer limited to fringe websites and needed to be taken on directly by mainstream media.

US politics has been thrown into turmoil by the propagation of unverified allegations concerning president-elect Donald Trump, who has condemned lurid accusations about his private life and business dealings as ‘fake’.

Writing for the Guardian, Dugher said “even someone with views as grimly unpalatable as Trump deserves to be scrutinised on the basis of truth and reality – not on fake news”, and argued that journalists needed to “avoid the temptation to publish clickbait nonsense in a voracious quest for web traffic.”

Dugher warned that without action British politics "risks becoming infected by this contagion".

Fears have been voiced at the concentration of power within just a handful of tech giants such as Google and Facebook, leading to concern that corrupt practices could rear their head.

Dugher will publish a report on the practical, political and ethical issues raised by fake news in the spring.

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