Nigel Farage and the Brexit party voted against tighter EU measures to combat Russia's "very dangerous" misinformation.
Party MPs voted against a European Parliament resolution calling for an upgrade of the European anti-propaganda unit East StratCom and support for public service media.
The text was adopted comfortably with the support of the largest political groups in the European Parliament – the center-right European People's Party, the Socialists, the Liberals and the Greens.
In this resolution, MPs also criticized Facebook, accusing the social media company of failing to follow through on most of Parliament's demands to prevent the repetition of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to which at least 87 million people were victims of collecting their data without authorization. advertising campaigns during the 2016 US presidential election.
Although the resolution is not binding, it further encourages the new leaders of the European Commission and the European Council to remain focused on countries seeking to meddle in the elections and activities of social media companies.
The text expressed "deep concern over the extremely dangerous nature of Russian propaganda" and called on EU institutions to define a strategy to counter Russian misinformation.
East StratCom was created with a tight budget in 2015 after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, which forced to rethink relations with the Kremlin in Brussels, Paris and Berlin.
Its staffing and funding have since been increased, but the unit has been criticized for a handful of decisions – later reversed – to describe satirical or contrarian articles as "false news".
The resolution, which was adopted by 469 votes to 143, with 47 abstentions, revealed the bitter division between the British deputies.
Liberal Democrats said they were "shocked and outraged" that the Brexit party voted against measures to fight misinformation.
"It is frankly shocking that MEPs in Brexit have today refused to support stronger measures to combat attacks on our democratic processes in Russia and elsewhere," said Catherine Bearder, President of the Liberal MEPs. "They wrap themselves in the union flag, but they fail repeatedly to protect our national interest and do what is best for Britain."
The Brexit party, which abstains or opposes most of the votes of the European Parliament, has retaliated. "We will always vote against more power and spending from the EU," said David Bull, Brexit MEP.
"We will not learn lessons from democracy from parties that have come together to thwart the vote on Brexit. The stories of Russian interference were revealed as unfounded propaganda and scare stories used to end the debate. As a party of freedom of expression, we oppose the holding of the debate. "
Facebook had previously declared its intention to comply with EU data protection legislation. The company has been contacted to comment on the resolution.