Coronavirus: New reports by online platforms show progress and need for more granular data on measures taken against disinformation

Today, the European Commission publishes the third set of reports on actions taken by the signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation to fight false and misleading coronavirus-related information. The reports continue to give a good overview of actions taken by the online platforms during the month of September, and demonstrate willingness to provide increased transparency around their policies on coronavirus disinformation. However, the reporting still lacks appropriate granularity in data, including on the impact of their policies, to ensure sufficient transparency and public accountability and enable consistent monitoring. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “With the second wave of the pandemic, we must work together to limit the spread of coronavirus disinformation online. I am glad to see that the platforms have taken useful actions. Despite these efforts, harmful content is still present in the public space and poses risk to the citizens. Platforms must step up their efforts to become more transparent and accountable. We need a better framework to help them do the right thing.” Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, added: “Viral spreading of disinformation related to the pandemic puts our citizens’ health and safety at risk. We need even stronger collaboration with online platforms in the coming weeks to fight disinformation effectively.” This monthly reporting programme is a deliverable under the 10 June 2020 Joint Communication to ensure accountability towards the public of the efforts made by platforms and relevant industry associations to limit online disinformation related to coronavirus. Today’s reports focus on actions taken in September 2020 by the Code’s platform signatories, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and TikTok. The Commission will deliver on its comprehensive approach against disinformation by presenting two complementary initiatives by the end of the year: a European Democracy Action Plan and a Digital Services Act package.