Code of practice against disinformation: Commission welcomes the commitment of online platforms ahead of the European elections


Today, the European Commission published the latest reports by Facebook, Google and Twitter covering the progress made in March 2019 to fight disinformation. The three online platforms are signatories to the Code of Practice against disinformation and have committed to report monthly on their actions ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019. 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 welcomed the progress made in a joint statement: We appreciate the efforts made by Facebook, Google and Twitter to increase transparency ahead of the European elections. We welcome that the three platforms have taken further action to fulfil their commitments under the Code. All of them have started labelling political advertisements on their platforms. In particular, Facebook and Twitter have made political advertisement libraries publicly accessible, while Google’s library has entered a testing phase. This provides the public with more transparency around political ads. However, further technical improvements as well as sharing of methodology and data sets for fake accounts are necessary to allow third-party experts, fact-checkers and researchers to carry out independent evaluation. At the same time, it is regrettable that Google and Twitter have not yet reported further progress regarding transparency of issue-based advertising, meaning issues that are sources of important debate during elections. We are pleased to see that the collaboration under the Code of Practice has encouraged Facebook, Google and Twitter to take further action to ensure the integrity of their services and fight against malicious bots and fake accounts. In particular, we welcome Google increasing cooperation with fact-checking organisations and networks. Furthermore, all three platforms have been carrying out initiatives to promote media literacy and provide training to journalists and campaign staff. The voluntary actions taken by the platforms are a step forward to support transparent and inclusive elections and better protect our democratic processes from manipulation, but a lot still remains to be done. We look forward to the next reports from April showing further progress ahead of the European elections.”