Vaccine disinformation: platforms monitoring program extended until the end of the year

The Commission publishes today the reports by Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Microsoft and Google on measures taken against coronavirus disinformation as signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. The Commission also decided to prolong the programme until the end of the year. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “These reports show how important it is to be able to effectively monitor the measures put in place by the platforms to reduce disinformation. We decided to extend this programme, because the amount of dangerous lies continues to flood our information space and because it will inform the creation of the new generation Code against disinformation.  We need a robust monitoring programme, and clearer indicators to measure impact of actions taken by platforms. They simply cannot police themselves alone.” Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added: “At this crucial phase of the vaccination campaign, I expect platforms to step up their efforts and deliver the strengthened Code of Practice as soon possible, in line with our Guidance. With the strengthened Code, and the co-regulatory framework established by the DSA we are starting a new chapter in countering disinformation in the EU.” Facebook launched vaccine profile picture frames to encourage people to get vaccinated. Twitter introduced prompts appearing on users’ home timeline during World Immunisation Week in 16 countries, and held conversations on vaccines that received 5 million impressions. TikTok’s report keeps on providing useful data, in particular, April shows a slight decrease of the number of COVID vaccine tags applied to videos (7,256) in the EU, while in Italy and Spain clicks and impressions on the same tag more than doubled compared to the March. Microsoft redirected users searching for “coronavirus” or “#covid” to the LinkedIn official page on COVID-19, displaying information from verified international sources. Google’s Ad Grants offered to public authorities generated 470 million impressions and 83 million clicks. Despite these useful measures, these reports still lack sufficient data on the impact of the policies taken to fight coronavirus related disinformation. The recently published Guidance to strengthen the Code of Practice will setup a robust monitoring framework, with clear Key Performance Indicators, measuring also the efficiency of the actions taken by platforms as set out in the European Democracy Action Plan.