Dutch government to launch anti-fake news campaign

The Dutch government is launching an online campaign against fake news in February, in the run up to the Provincial State and European Parliament elections next year. The campaign must make Dutch voters more aware of the possible presence of disinformation and help people recognize it, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs said in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.

The campaign will be spread on social media and last for around four months, through the Provincial States election on March 20th and up to the European Parliament elections on May 23rd. 

Unlike with American and French elections and the Brexit referendum, fake news campaigns in the Netherlands still had "no major negative impact" on society, Ollongren said. She attributes this to the Netherlands' strong media system and the varied news offer. This reduces the risk of "filter bubbles" arising in which people only get one-sided news, the Minister said in her letter to parliament. 

Nevertheless, the government believes that people should be alert. New technology makes it increasingly difficult to see whether a photo or video is real or not. And the threat of misinformation by "certain countries is real", Ollongren said. 

In the upcoming elections the government will be alert to foreign interference. Next year a study will be done into the effects of social media and internet search engines on elections.