Taken over by Elon Musk last year, Twitter did not provide enough data in its report on how it is tackling disinformation.
Major online platforms such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter have published for the first time reports on how they are tackling disinformation as per a new EU code of practice.
The baseline reports published today (9 February) coincide with the launch of a new Transparency Centre website to ensure visibility and accountability of the code’s signatories in their efforts to fight disinformation and implementation of commitments.
The website serves as a single repository where EU citizens, researchers and NGOs can access and download online information about the efforts of the 30-odd firms that signed the code last year.
“The publication of the first reports of the revamped anti-disinformation code is an important milestone in the fight against disinformation and I am pleased to see how most signatories, big and small, are engaging,” said Věra Jourová, EU vice-president for values and transparency.
“I’m glad to see for the first time reporting on the country-level, but more work is needed when it comes to providing access to data for researchers. We must have more transparency and cannot rely on the online platforms alone for the quality of information.”
However, Twitter has received an EU ‘yellow card’ for its failure to meet the standards in disinformation reports submitted by other major platforms such as Google, Meta and TikTok.
“I am disappointed to see that Twitter report lags behind others and I expect a more serious commitment to their obligations stemming from the code,” Jourová said in a statement today.
“Russia is engaged also in a full-blown disinformation war and the platforms need to live up to their responsibilities.”
Published last summer, the Code of Practice on Disinformation 2022 is the EU’s push to crack down on fake news content on the internet. It follows the lessons learnt during the previous two years with the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
It builds on the self-regulatory Code of Practice on Disinformation published in 2018, which was signed by representatives from online platforms, leading tech companies and advertising players.
A statement by the European Commission confirmed that all signatories submitted their reports on time and used an agreed “harmonised reporting template” aiming to address all commitments and measures they agreed to.
However, Twitter – which was taken over by billionaire Elon Musk last year – fell short of the data required in the report, with “no information on commitments to empower the fact-checking community”. As of today (9 February), Twitter is charging for access to its API, creating a financial burden for researchers hoping to access valuable data from the site.
The commission said the next set of reports is due in July this year, providing further insight on the code’s implementation and “more stable data” covering six months.
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