The European Commission calls on Facebook and Twitter to strengthen the fight against "misinformation"

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it received the first reports from Internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, about their compliance with the requirements to combat disinformation on the network, officials noted some progress in removing fake accounts, but they are waiting for additional measures from companies. 

In October 2018, at the proposal of the EC, Internet companies signed a Code of Practice on Disinformation. 

“Today, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla and the trade associations representing the advertising sector have submitted their first reports on the measures they are taking to comply with the Code of Practice on Disinformation. There has been some progress, notably in removing fake accounts and limiting the visibility of sites that promote disinformation. However, additional action is needed to ensure full transparency of political ads by the start of the campaign for the European elections in all EU Member States, to allow appropriate access to platforms’ data for research purposes, and to ensure proper cooperation between the platforms and individual Member States through contact points in the Rapid Alert System”, – said in the message of the EC. 

According to Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, companies now “have to make sure that these tools are available to everyone in the EU, monitor their effectiveness and constantly adapt to the new tools used by those who spread disinformation.” 

European officials are expecting Facebook to be “more clear on how the social network will deploy its consumer empowerment tools and boost cooperation with fact-checkers and the research community across the whole EU.” 
“Twitter has prioritised actions against malicious actors, closing fake or suspicious accounts and automated systems/bots. Still, more information is needed on how this will restrict persistent purveyors of disinformation from promoting their tweets,” – the EC said. 

In January 2019, online platforms must provide the commission with detailed information on the work done. This first monthly report will be published in February, similar reports will be provided every month until May, when the elections to the EP will be held.

Tom Tompson

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