Today the European Commission published reports by Facebook, Google and Twitter covering the progress made in January 2019 on their commitments to fight disinformation.
The European Commission today said that the tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter have missed the mark regarding their pledges to combat fake news.
Ahead of the European elections these three online platforms are signatories of the Code of Practice against disinformation and have been asked to report monthly on their actions ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
More specifically, the Commission asked to receive detailed information to monitor progress on the scrutiny of ad placement, transparency of political advertising, closure of fake accounts and marking systems for automated bots.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement: “The online platforms, which signed the Code of Practice, are rolling out their policies in Europe to support the integrity of elections. This includes better scrutiny of advertisement placements, transparency tools for political advertising, and measures to identify and block inauthentic behaviour on their services. However, we need to see more progress on the commitments made by online platforms to fight disinformation. 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. The reports provide too little information on the actual results of the measures already taken.”
Brussels underlines the risk of fake news or foreign interference during the campaign period for the European Parliament in May as well as during national campaigns for the parliamentary (or regional) elections in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine in the coming months.
“Sadly they have fallen further behind. They need to live up to the standards we are asking of them, and that they signed up to,” Europe’s Security Commissioner Julian King said in a tweet.
Facebook has not given details of its actions against political advertisements in January nor the quantity of fake accounts deleted because of spreading fake news against the European Union, the Commission said.
In what concerns Google, the Commission additionally discovered that Google’s measures on political advertisements were not sufficiently explicit nor did the organization illuminated the degree to which its moves were made to address fake news.
The European Commission likewise said Twitter avoided to give benchmarks to measure its progress on monitoring political advertisements.