US, Europe partner to counter 'fake news' and cyberattacks

The center will be headquartered in Finland next to neighboring Russia, which stands accused of launching so-called "hybrid" attacks, such as the spreading of fake news.

The West has a plan to counter Russia's aggressive "fake news" engine.

Several EU and NATO nations, including the US and the UK, have signed up to establish a center in Helsinki, Finland to counter cyberattacks and other emerging threats, such as the spreading of disinformation and propaganda.

"Fake news" was in part accused of influencing the US presidential election. (Image: stock photo)

France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania also signed up as members, announced in the Finnish capital on Tuesday.

An effort to counter these non-military, so-called "hybrid threats," which NATO says combines military aggression with "political, diplomatic, economic, cyber, and disinformation measures" comes months after Russia was accused of influencing the recent US presidential election by hacking into Democratic party servers in order to embarrass candidates.

Russia denied any involvement in the attacks.

But the move to ramp up the effort to counter Russian propaganda comes as European officials warn that Moscow may have its eyes on meddling with upcoming elections in France and Germany -- as well as the recent election in the Netherlands.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia, its former occupier, has also accused the Russian government of barraging its citizens with propaganda.

Close to a dozen experts will form the basis of a group of experts from member states, reports Reuters. The experts are expected to work to raise awareness of hybrid threats and help nations to counter fake news and misinformation with facts and truth, according to NATO.

The center will have a budget of around €1.5 million, half of which will be covered by Finland as its host nation.

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