Code of practice against disinformation: Commission welcomes the commitment of online platforms ahead of the European elections

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The European Commission published the latest reports by Facebook, Google and Twitter covering the progress made in March 2019 to fight disinformation. The three online platforms are signatories to the Code of Practice against disinformation and have committed to report monthly on their actions ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.

  • Google reported on specific actions taken to improve scrutiny of ad placements in the EU, including a breakdown per Member State. It gave an update on its election ads policy, which it started enforcing on 21 March 2019, and announced the launch of its EU Elections Ads Transparency Report and its searchable ad library available in April. Google has not reported further progress regarding the definition of issue-based advertising. Similarly to the last report, global data was provided on the removal of a significant number of YouTube channels for violation of its policies on spam, deceptive practices and scams, and impersonation.
  • Facebook reported on actions taken against the ads that violated its policies for containing low quality, disruptive, misleading or false content or circumvented its systems. It provided further information on its political ads policy, which will apply also to Instagram. The company noted the launch of a new, publicly available Ad Library globally on 28 March 2019, covering Facebook and Instagram, and highlighted the expansion of access to its Ad Library application programming interface. Facebook reported on the number of fake accounts disabled globally in Q1 of 2019 and on the takedown of eight coordinated inauthentic behaviour networks, originating in North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Russia. The report did not state whether these networks also affected users in the EU.
  • Twitter reported an update to its political campaigning ads policy and provided further details on the public disclosure of political ads in Twitter's Ad Transparency Centre. Twitter provided figures on actions undertaken against spam and fake accounts but did not provide further insights on these actions and how they relate to activity in the EU. Twitter did not report on any actions to improve the scrutiny of ad placements or provide any metrics with respect to its commitments in this area.

As part of the implementation of the Code of Practice, the platforms met with national regulatory authorities, part of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) on 16 April 2019 to discuss the functionality of their political ads repositories.

Code of practice against disinformation: Commission welcomes the commitment of online platforms ahead of the European elections Google, Facebook, Twitter have to do more to fight fake news: EU (Reuters)