The European Commission published the first annual self-assessment reports from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Twitter and seven European trade associations on the Code of Practice against Disinformation today. The reports provide information on measures to comply with the Code.
As part of the Action Plan against Disinformation, this self-regulatory Code of Practice was initiated in October 2018.
These are some important findings:
According to the report, the signatories have been able to improve transparency compared to the previous year. Furthermore, online platforms are now in closer dialogue about their actions against disinformation.
However, less is reported on progress towards strengthening the position of consumers and the research community.
Search tools and data provided by these tech companies are inadequate for the needs of independent scrutiny. The consistency and level of detail of the information vary and metrics provided are mainly related to output indicators such as the number of closed accounts.
Some platforms differ significantly in how they implement concrete measures to meet their obligations. In addition, there are large country-specific differences in how companies implement their policies in each Member State, cooperate with stakeholders or raise awareness of the context of elections.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, jointly stated: "In particular, we commend the commitment of the online platforms to become more transparent about their policies and to establish closer cooperation with researchers, fact-checkers and Member States. However, progress varies a lot between signatories and the reports provide little insight on the actual impact of the self-regulatory measures taken over the past year as well as mechanisms for independent scrutiny. While the efforts of online platforms and fact-checkers can reduce harmful virality through platforms' services, there is still an urgent need for online platforms to establish a meaningful cooperation with a wider range of trusted and independent organizations. Access to data provided so far still does not correspond to the needs of independent researchers."
Source: European Commission