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Brussels Proposes To Tighten The Code Against Disinformation

The code of good practices against disinformation approved three years ago and signed with large platforms does not work. At least not as well as the European Commission would like, which this Wednesday has proposed to toughen this tool to increase its effectiveness in the fight against ‘fake news’ , which have exploded during the coronavirus pandemic .

Brussels wants the internet giants to stop financing disinformation, to allow access to verifiers’ data and for users themselves to be able to act actively by denouncing cases of disinformation.

“We have to intensify our collective measures to empower citizens and protect the democratic information space . We need a new and strengthened code because online platforms and other participants need to address the systemic risks of their services and their algorithmic expansion, stop monitoring themselves and stop allowing disinformation to generate income ”, defends the vice president of the Commission, Vera Jourová who has given as an example the disinformation campaigns during the coronavirus crisis and the risks of an “infodemic” for the health and public systems.

Until now, as explained by the industry commissioner, Thierry Breton , none of the five major signatory platforms – Google, Microsoft, Tiktok, Facebook and Twitter – have fully complied with the commitments they assumed in October 2018, therefore they consider that the time has come to review them. “Disinformation cannot continue to be a source of income .

We need to see stronger commitments from online platforms, the advertising ecosystem as a whole, and fact-checker networks, ”the Frenchman warned.

Fake news financing
According to the European Commission, platforms and agents of the internet advertising ecosystem must collaborate to end the financing of websites and content that promote disinformation by exchanging information, increasing transparency and accountability in terms of ad placement.

The new code should also serve to redouble efforts against “existing and emerging manipulative behaviors” that are used to spread disinformation such as bots, fake accounts, organized manipulation campaigns or account thefts.

The proposal also calls for platforms that allow users access to tools that allow them to better understand the internet to navigate safely, that provide accessible and effective tools and procedures to report ‘fake news’, that improve the visibility of the reliable information of general interest and that alerts users who have interacted with content detected as false by fact-checkers.

In this area, the new code should also improve cooperation with fact-checkers, increase their coverage between EU countries and languages, and establish an improved monitoring framework based on clear performance indicators that measure results and consequences. of the measures adopted by the platforms. In addition, and as before, the platforms must continue to present regular reports on the measures adopted and progress.

Brussels, which plans to propose this year legislation to increase the transparency of political advertising, hopes that the new code, which must now be negotiated with platforms and signatories, will be drawn up in the autumn and that it can enter into force in January 2022.

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