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EUvsDisinfo Publicly Retracts Disinformation Labels After Lawsuit Threats And Political Pressure

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 08 Mar 2018 17:51:55 Z)

The website of EUvsDisinfo, a project set up by the East StratCom Taskforce of the European Union to fight pro-Kremlin disinformation, has published a public retraction (archived here) on the main page of its website indicating three articles from Dutch media outlets were wrongly labeled as disinformation.

This follows after the three media outlets in question (De Gelderlander, GeenStijl and The Post Online) filed a lawsuit demanding a retraction and damages and after the Dutch parliament approved a motion earlier this week calling on the Dutch goverment to take the stance that EUvsDisinfo should be disbanded entirely because "government institutions" shouldn't be in the business of labeling "free press publications as fake news".

The full text of the announcement is below:

Removal of three cases further to complaints by Dutch media

Mar 8, 2018

Following a detailed review of certain articles in the Dutch media, the East Stratcom Task Force has taken the measures set out below.

An article published on the website of De Gelderlander was wrongly included in the list of disinformation cases on this website. The article has been removed from the EU vs Disinfo Database. This followed from a complaint by De Persgroep Nederland regarding this article.

Two other Dutch articles that were wrongly included in the EU vs Disinfo Database were removed from this database earlier, following a complaint by GS Media regarding an article published on the website of GeenStijl, and following a complaint by The Post Online and Mr Christiaan Aalberts, a freelance journalist, regarding an article published on the website of The Post Online.

We continuously endeavour to ensure the accuracy of the EU vs Disinfo Database. With this in mind, we are currently taking steps to further improve our internal procedures.

We welcome feedback and an online form is available to report any mistakes.

De Gelderlander already reacted in an article they published earlier today (translated quote):

Editor-in-chief Peter Jansen of De Gelderlander is happy about the decision. ,,It is good of the EU to correct this error. De Gelderlander is very happy about the support we received from press and politics.''

GeenStijl reacted too (translated):

Brussel shits its pants for GeenStijl. EUvsDisinfo publishes retraction of fake news accusations
Lookee here.

The fake fake news fighters of EUvsDisinfo are feeling the hot breath of our black chickens (ed. GeenStijl nickname for their lawyers) and have adjusted their front page a bit. It remains a terrifying Ministry of Truth that must be destroyed. We are calling our lawyer. More later.

TPO also published a brief reaction saying they are talking to their counsel about the lawsuit planned for next week.


About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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