EU should beef up fake news pledge involving Google, Facebook, Twitter – study

Platform News: fake news, political bias, section 230 and misinformation on social media

The European Union should strengthen a voluntary pledge, to which Facebook, Google and Twitter signed up to combat fake news, with sanctions to make it a more effective tool, a study done for the European Commission has said. 

KEY POINTS

  • Study commissioned by the EU finds that the voluntary pledge to combat ‘fake news’ lacks teeth
  • Google, Facebook, Twitter should face sanctions in order to ensure compliance
  • The EU has a history of punishing overseas tech companies

The three US tech giants, together with Mozilla and trade bodies representing the advertising industry, agreed in October 2018 on a self-regulatory code of practice to tackle disinformation in a bid to stave off heavy-handed legislation.

The EU executive has acknowledged the companies’ efforts via regular reports but also urged them to do more. Last year, it commissioned a study to look in to the matter.

The study said the code should continue as a basis for further action but noted some shortcomings.

Key among these are the code’s self-regulatory nature, the lack of uniformity of implementation and the lack of clarity around its scope and some of the key concepts, the study conducted by consultancy Valdani, Vicari and Associates (VVA) said.

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It recommended giving some teeth to the code to ensure compliance.

“The European Commission should consider proposals for co-regulation within which appropriate enforcement mechanisms, sanctions and redress mechanisms should be established,” the study said.

Tech lobbying group EDiMA said the code should not be abandoned.

“The outcomes of the code of practice have shown that it is an effective way to address the spread of online disinformation and fake news,” Director General Siada El Ramly said.

Critics of the EU say that it uses market studies in order to create new revenue streams, targeting the US tech giants. US President Donald J Trump has also criticised Brussels for aggressively pursuing antitrust cases against US tech groups, stating that the EU regulator “hates” America.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘EU should beef up fake news pledge involving Google, Facebook, Twitter – study‘ article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels. Editing by Matthew Lewis. Comment by Rob Phillips.

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