Vimeo, Clubhouse & Co. join European code against disinformation

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Eight new supporters want to follow the code of conduct initiated by the European Commission three years ago to fight disinformation and, for example, to take stronger measures against false information on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccinations against the Covid- 19. The Brussels government institution announced it on Friday. Future signatories include the Vimeo video platform and the Clubhouse chat app.

Previously, operators of major social networks and search engines such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter had signed the code. In 2020, the commission launched the slogan that the infodemic which is raging in parallel with the Covid 19 pandemic must also be approached in this context: reliable sources in the health sector must be promoted, false or misleading content must not be should not be offered a forum, and illegal posts should be removed.

Along with DoubleVerify, another ad technology provider (“Ad Tech”) and organizations that provide special expertise and technical solutions to combat disinformation have now joined the self-regulation initiative. These include Avaaz, Globsec, Logically, NewsGuard, and WhoTargetsMe.

The Commission wants to tighten up and expand the code considerably. According to her, recent election campaigns and reports from previous signatories have shown that “significant additional efforts are needed” “to stem the tide of harmful disinformation”. The current agreement was a good first step in this direction. “Significant inadequacies” highlighted during an analysis, such as the absence of an appropriate monitoring system, central performance indicators and data access rules for researchers, as well as a “Limited participation”, especially from the advertising industry, will need to be addressed.

Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the Values ​​and Transparency Committee, was happy with the new arrivals. At the same time, she encouraged other platforms, messaging services and ad technology industry players to “join the code as soon as possible.” With its May guidelines, the Commission had high expectations for the agreement to be enlarged. The Czech warned: “Online actors have a special responsibility when it comes to the dissemination and commercialization of disinformation. The corresponding services must be made more transparent, accountable and secure from the start. “

According to the executive, it is necessary in particular instruments “which make it possible to make pay the expenses to the authors”. Above all, it takes care not to place advertising on questionable platforms in order to withdraw this income. According to the revised guidelines, platforms and representatives of the online advertising system should take more responsibility and work better together to prevent the funding of disinformation. At the same time, EU committees are working on comprehensive legal requirements for portals and networks with the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Also on Friday, the Commission released reports from Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Microsoft on the measures that companies took to EU countries in July and August to contain disinformation about Covid-19. Facebook alone removed more than 270,000 posts from its own network and Instagram affiliate that violated relevant guidelines over the two summer months.

Google said it took action against 16,479 URLs in its internal advertising program, AdSense, in July and August. This is 1,584 more addresses than in June, the largest increase with more than 1,000 URLs located in France. The number of banner ads and ad accounts that were rejected for violating Covid-19 advertising policies has remained about the same.

Microsoft’s report shows that in July the number of ads blocked by the group for EU users linked to the pandemic fell sharply by more than 50% to 286,485 from June. In August, however, the trend was completely reversed: then 5.4 million ads were blocked for violating Microsoft’s advertising guidelines, the highest value since the start of the European Covid-19 disinformation control program. .


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