The EU yesterday warned US tech giants to crack down on the spread of "fake news" by the end of the year or face regulation in the wake of a scandal involving the illegal harvesting of Facebook users' data.
Brussels called for the creation of a network of "independent fact-checkers" and a code of conduct amid growing concerns over election meddling involving the use of the internet and personal data.
"We are giving social networks and online platforms a chance to resolve the problem once and for all," EU digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel told a news conference.
As a first step, the Bulgarian commissioner called on tech firms to draw up a code of conduct by July, and proposed the creation of a secure online platform to tackle "disinformation".
"We will closely monitor the progress made and may propose further actions by December, including measures of regulatory nature, should the results prove unsatisfactory," she warned.
The EU plans come after a group of 40 media experts including AFP produced a report on the issue earlier this year.
Brussels meanwhile also pressed Silicon Valley firms like Google to be more transparent about how their search results work amid concerns that they are squeezing out small businesses.
"We must make sure they are not abusing their power," Gabriel said.
Google was hit last June with a 2.4-billion-euro (more than $2.7 billion) EU fine for illegally favouring its shopping service in search results, after which it proposed fixes including running the shopping arm as a standalone business.
The EU has taken an increasingly tough stance on US tech firms, with plans announced in March for a digital tax on Silicon Valley giants riling Washington.