Commission lauds efforts by tech giants to increase transparency
The European Commission says it “welcomes” fresh efforts made by Facebook, Google and Twitter to increase transparency ahead of the European elections next month.
Photo credit: Press Association
The executive said the three platforms have taken “further action to fulfil their commitments” under the code of practice against disinformation.
But it also warns that “a lot remains to be done” in the fight against the spread of so-called fake news.
Each of the tech giants have started labelling political advertisements on their platforms, according to the Commission.
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Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said, “This provides the public with more transparency around political ads.”
Facebook said a number of fake accounts had been “disabled” in the first quarter of 2019 and that it had taken down eight “coordinated inauthentic behaviour networks” originating in North Macedonia, Kosovo and Russia.
However, the Commission goes on to state that “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.
A Commission statement said, “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.”
“This provides the public with more transparency around political ads” Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for the digital single market
“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 statement concluded that 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 noted that a lot still remains to be done.
“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” Commission statement
The next “progress reports” on what efforts the tech companies plan to take will be issued later this month.
The Commission already has an “action plan” in place designed to stop “overseas interference” in the May 23-26 elections.
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