Fighting Fake News: EU Mad At Lack of Tech Giants’ Progress

Written by | Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Tech giants are not making enough progress in the fight against fake news, the EU Commission concluded while the EU internal stakeholders are pushing Brussels to make a case for national legislation against fake news. The EU cybersecurity agency ENISA said that national legislation was much needed. “We need to see more progress on the commitments made by online platforms to fight disinformation,” a European Commission statement read.

“Platforms have not provided enough details showing that new policies and tools are being deployed in a timely manner and with sufficient resources across all EU Member States,” continues the statement by a number of EU Commissioners. These words reiterate what was already announced by the Commission in January when Facebook and other social media issued their first reports under the voluntary code of practice against disinformation. The reports aim to provide additional detail on the compliance of the tech companies with the Commission’s code of practice, a voluntary framework that seeks to prevent the spread of fake news online.

The EU published the first compliance reports in January with the goal of setting a set of measures regulating the online conduct regarding disinformation. In last week’s statement, the Commission criticized Facebook for not reporting “on results of the activities undertaken in January with respect to the scrutiny of ad placements,” as well as its failure to disclose “the number of fake accounts removed due to malicious activities targeting specifically the European Union.”

Facebook responded to the accusations by saying that the company was “in the process of developing performance indicators around political advertising, but these will only become available when the ads archive launches outside the US”. “With regards to the number of fake accounts we remove from Facebook, we provide updates on this in our twice-yearly Transparency Report. We remain committed to submitting reports to the European Commission to highlight the progress we’re making in each area outlined in the code,” a Facebook spokesperson commented.

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