Social media bosses could be questioned by MPs on whether they are doing enough to stop “fake news”.
Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are being targeted by the Commons Culture Committee as part of a possible inquiry into the spread of untrue stories on their platforms.
The committee is thought to be considering a formal inquiry and it could begin holding sessions by the start of the summer, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Damian Collins, chairman of the cross-party committee of MPs, told the paper that some fake news stories were being distributed “maliciously”.
He said sites had a responsibility to ensure their platforms were not being used to distribute bogus content.
“Some fake news is presented to look like real news coming from real news websites,” the Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe said.
“It can be difficult to distinguish between them.
“The concern is a fake story can get out and be distributed on the internet and become the received wisdom before the truth can get out.
“The truth is always trying to catch up with a fake news story.”
He said there was a “responsibility to democracy” to ensure the social media platforms were not “being perverted to support the distribution of fake and malicious news”.
“In a similar way, I think social media (companies) have a responsibility to ensure their platforms are not being used to spread malicious content,” he said.
His comments come a month after a YouGov survey found that more than two thirds of Britons believe companies such as Facebook should do more to filter out misleading and fake news stories.
Concern has been heightened recently over false stor on social media during the US election.