Meta, Google and Twitter, among others, sign a strengthened code of conduct. This includes measures against the monetization of disinformation. However, the parties also want to expand fact-checking.
The EU Commission has announced the signing of a strengthened code of conduct to combat disinformation. The 34 signatories include technology companies and civil society representatives. The new code builds on the 2018 code of conduct and takes into account lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
With the new code, online platforms Meta, Google, Twitter, TikTok, and Microsoft, among others, as well as representatives of the online advertising industry, commit to combating disinformation on the Internet. Among other things, it aims to ensure that the disseminators of disinformation do not benefit from advertising revenues. In addition, the code now also addresses the use of fake accounts, bots or deepfakes to spread disinformation
Users, meanwhile, should be given better tools to make it easier for them to identify and report false information. The code also calls for fact-checking to be expanded in all EU countries. Furthermore, the payment of fact inspectors is to be improved.
Political advertising is to be made more easily recognizable as such in the future. Researchers in the field of disinformation are to be given easier access to data from the platforms. With a transparency center and a task force, the signatories also want to monitor the implementation of the code and ensure that it remains future-proof and fit for purpose.
“This new code against disinformation comes at a time when Russia is using disinformation as a weapon as part of its military aggression against Ukraine, but also when we see attacks on democracy more broadly,” said Vera Jurova, Vice President for Values and Transparency. “We now have significant commitments to mitigate the impact of disinformation on the Internet, and we have much more robust tools to determine how those commitments are being implemented across the EU in all countries and in all their languages.”
“To increase its credibility, the new Code of Conduct is underpinned by the Digital Services Act, which also provides for strong and dissuasive sanctions,” added Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the domestic market. “Very large platforms that repeatedly violate the code and fail to take adequate risk mitigation measures risk fines of up to 6 percent of their global turnover.”