Commission Gives Guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation
On 26 May 2021, the Commission released a Communication entitled “Guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation.” The Commission stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the problem posed by disinformation as well as the increasing importance of digital technologies in everyday life.
With this guidance document, the Commission wants to strengthen the Code of Practice on Disinformation and address gaps and shortcomings in digital communication in order to create a more transparent, safe, and trustworthy online environment. The Commission called the Code of Practice on Disinformation – in effect since October 2018 – a centrepiece of the EU’s efforts in the fight against disinformation. The Code is a self-regulatory tool that is employed by major online platforms and trade associations. It provides a structured framework in which the private entities monitor and improve their policies on disinformation (→ eucrim news item of 11 January 2020).
However, the Communication also identified the Code’s shortcomings, as revealed by an assessment in 2020. This includes, for instance, inconsistent and incomplete application of the Code across platforms and Member States, limitations intrinsic to the self-regulatory nature of the Code, and gaps in the coverage of the Code’s objectives commitments. In order to address these shortcomings, the Commission calls for the following improvements:
The Commission’s Guidance is also designed to develop the existing Code of Practice into a co-regulatory instrument, as foreseen under the Digital Services Act (DSA).