The U.K. Parliament’s Digital, Media, Sports and Culture committee has called for third parties propagating “fake news” to be held liable in a new report. It considers the culprits to be technology companies like Facebook and Twitter, whose open platforms allow users to spread content with few restrictions. Such companies, it claims, should face taxes and fines for supporting posts carrying “harmful and illegal” overtones.
The report focuses on the effect of fake news on the U.K.’s Brexit referendum to leave the European Union, and was intended to be published on Sunday and given to news organizations under embargo. However, Dominic Cummings, campaign director of the Vote Leave group, posted a leaked version online.
Vote Leave, the campaign that urged Brits to vote in favor of Brexit, is heavily criticized in the report for its “contemptuous” behavior. Cummings fought back on his personal blog, dismissing the report as “fake news” itself.
The recommendations were the result of over a year-long investigation into misinformation, social media companies and elections in the U.K. It also explores Russian interference in U.K. politics and election law.