Two years after a self-regulatory code of practice to tackle disinformation was agreed, the European Commission on Thursday called for Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, Twitter, and plenty of other tech rivals to amp up their efforts to fight against fake news.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, fake news has surged, leading to even more calls for social media to be more proactive in regulating the news that is spread through the different platforms.
The companies and trade bodies for the advertising industry, signed the code in 2018 claiming to regulate the spread of disinformation more effectively.
Since 2018, both Microsoft and TikTok joined the group.
The European Commission however has claimed that there are numerous shortcomings in the code after an assessment of its first year in operation.
A report seen by Reuters claimed that the shortcomings “can be grouped in four broad categories: inconsistent and incomplete application of the code across platforms and member states, lack of uniform definitions, existence of several gaps in the coverage of the code commitments, and limitations intrinsic to the self-regulatory nature of the code”.
Vera Jourova, the commission vice president for values and transparency, called for such social media platforms to take more action in order to counter new risks.
Jourova stated that “As we also witness new threats and actors the time is ripe to go further and propose new measures. The platforms need to become more accountable and transparent. They need to open up and provide better access to data, among others”.
Jourova is currently leading a European Democracy Action Plan that is striving to make democracy much more resilient to digital threats.
By the end of the year, the commission is also set to propose new rules named the Digital Services Act, with the aim of increasing social media’s responsibilities and liability for content on their own platforms.