Large technology companies owning online platforms, agreed comply with the new EU rules to combat disinformation on the Internet.
Disinformation and misinformation thrive in uncertainty and secrecy.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) June 16, 2022
Document signed Adobe, Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Vimeo and more. Companies will have to do more to prevent the spread of fake news and propaganda on their platforms. They also commit to share more details about their work with EU member states.
According to the European Commission, the rules took into account, among other things, “lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine.”
“The new Disinformation Code comes at a time when Russia is using disinformation as a weapon as part of its military aggression against Ukraine, and as we see attacks on democracy more broadly,” said Vice President of the Commission on Values and transparency Vera Yurova.
The document contains 44 specific “commitments” for companies. Among them:
- creating searchable libraries of political advertising;
- demonetizing fake news sites to deprive them of their advertising revenue;
- reducing the number of botnets and fake accounts used to spread disinformation;
- providing users with tools to flag disinformation and access “authoritative sources”;
- providing researchers with “better and wider access to platform data”;
- working closely with independent fact-checkers to verify sources of information.
Many US tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have already taken similar initiatives under pressure from politicians and regulators. However, the EU argues that the new set of rules will increase oversight of these operations and strengthen law enforcement.
Unlike the previous version of the document, the new rules are mandatory. They will be applied in accordance with the new EU Digital Services Act (DSA), European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said:
“Large platforms that repeatedly violate the Code and fail to take adequate risk mitigation measures may face a fine of up to 6% of their global turnover.”
Despite the scale of the initiative, a number of companies have not joined the updated document. For example, despite the growing advertising business, Apple did not sign the Code. Telegram, which has become a major propaganda battleground since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is also missing from the list.
Recall that in June, tech giants tentatively agreed to join the EU initiative to combat deepfakes, disinformation and fake accounts.
In April, the European Union agreed on a Digital Services Law that increases the responsibility of large technology companies in matters of recommender algorithms and targeted advertising.
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