Coronavirus disinformation: new online platforms report show continued actions taken on vaccines

The Commission publishes today the reports by Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Microsoft and Google on measures taken in May against coronavirus disinformation as signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “The pandemic has reminded us all that proper and timely information can save lives and support the recovery. This monitoring programme remains a test case for the platform that will inform the strengthening of the Code of Practice on Disinformation.” Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added: “We want online platforms to do more to make sure that the Code will excel as a DSA co-regulatory instrument, and this monitoring programme is a concrete example where we can see progress. I expect platforms to continue these efforts and strengthen the Code in line with the Guidance.” Facebook reported that its vaccine profile frames, launched in April to encourage people to get vaccinated, have been used by more than 5 million users globally in May. Twitter updated its user notifications to a strike-based system with gradual account suspension to make users more aware when their tweets are labelled or removed. TikTok collaborated with the Italian youth ministry on a campaign to promote vaccination, and reported a tenfold increase of vaccine tagged videos across Europe, compared to the previous month. Microsoft Bing’s COVID-19 experience prompt keeps on showing a detailed vaccine progress tracker when searching for related terms. Google rolled out its search feature presenting a list of authorised vaccines, statistics and information throughout Europe and is currently implementing additional information on where to get vaccinated. Still, more granular data is needed for a better understanding of the impact of measures taken by platforms to fight coronavirus related disinformation. Following the recently published Guidance, the lessons learned from the current monitoring programme should feed into the setting up of a robust monitoring framework, including clear performance indicators.