Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Tech giants have submitted the reports of their efforts to curb fake news and disinformation on their platform to the European Commission. The companies which make a significant chunk of their revenues from online advertising submitted review of actions it took in 2018 for stopping disinformation to spread on their platforms.
The EU regulatory body in December announced an Action Plan to counter disinformation affecting political discourse in the nations heading for elections this year. The EU Commission asked advertising companies to provide updates on their actions to regulate themselves under The Code of Practice on Disinformation. Facebook, Google and Twitter Voluntarily signed up for the code of practice in October 2018.
The code aimed at denying ad revenue to those spreading lies and misinformation. Google’s report says that in 2017 it banished 3.2 billion ads. Other measures by Google include Blocking 2 million pages per month, terminating 320,000 publishers from network, blacklisting 90,000 websites and 700,000 apps from its network. Facebook reported that it closed 800 million and 754 million fake accounts in 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2018. Twitter reported suspension of around 1,432,000 apps for spam tweets.
The commission summarized the self-evaluations submitted by the tech companies as work under progress while pointing out areas where more focus is needed. The commission specified a brief guideline for each company to take notice which is as follows:
- Facebook: The commission stated that although Facebook has taken several actions to implement all commitments it made to the commission however it needs to provide further clarity on how it will boost cooperation with the community of researchers and fact-checkers and better deploy tools to empower its customers across the whole European Union.
- Google: The commission said that Google has taken steps to implement all commitments but it needs to expand some tools to all member states which are currently available only in some states and also called for a wider scale support for research actions.
- Twitter: about Twitter it said that it has taken actions against malicious twitter accounts and fake bots but it needs to restrict the activity of persistent purveyors of misinformation through tweets.
- Mozilla: The commission stated that the web browser should take concrete steps to protect user’s browsing information which can be used for targeted disinformation campaigns.
The commissioner for Digital Economy and society, Maya Gabriel commented on the statement that after the issue of new guidelines, she expects more intensified efforts in reporting and monitoring disinformation by the signatories. She added that urgent actions are needed to ensure that citizens have access to objective and quality information to make informed choices.