The European Union has been assessing the steps being taken in the region to fight misinformation.
This assessment was partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a “massive wave of false or misleading information including attempts by foreign actors to influence EU citizens and debates”.
“Disinformation in times of the coronavirus can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens by making them aware of false information, and expose the actors responsible for engaging in such practices,” European Union High Representative vice president Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“In today’s technology-driven world, where warriors wield keyboards rather than swords and targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns are a recognised weapon of state and non-state actors, the European Union is increasing its activities and capacities in this fight,” Borrell added.
The European Commission has, among other things, said that online platforms need additional efforts to fight misinformation as well as transparency and greater accountability.
In a bid to effect this change, the Commission has said that online platforms should submit monthly reports regarding how they are fighting misinformation.
“Platforms should provide monthly reports that include more detailed data on their actions to promote authoritative content, improve users’ awareness, and limit coronavirus disinformation and advertising related to it,” the Commission wrote.
The EU already has measures in place that allow online platforms, social networks and advertisers to self-regulate when addressing the spread of misinformation and fake news.
The Code of Practice directs firms in this regard and has been signed by Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla and Microsoft. According to Reuters, TikTok will sign the Code of Practice as well.
“To fight disinformation, we need to mobilise all relevant players from online platforms to public authorities, and support independent fact checkers and media. While online platforms have taken positive steps during the pandemic, they need to step up their efforts. Our actions are strongly embedded in fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression and information,” said Vice President for Values and Transparency at the European Commission, Věra Jourová.
[Source – European Commission]