Signatories and Commission Assess Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation
One year after the launch of the strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation (on 16 June 2022 → eucrim news of 22 June 2022), Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, and the Director-General of DG CNECT, Roberto Viola, met with the signatories of the 2022 strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation on 5 June 2023. The agenda featured discussion on the signatories' current implementation efforts and on anticipated difficulties in the following areas:
- Improving work on fact-checking;
- Enhancing access to data for study;
- Empowering users of online platforms;
- Addressing the most recent advancements in the field of generative AI.
With regard to the new challenges, which the code should address, Jourová stated prior to the meeing: “[…] progress remains too slow on crucial aspects, especially when it comes to dealing with pro-Kremlin war propaganda or independent access to data. The Code should also start addressing new threats such as misuse of generative AI. As we prepare for the 2024 EU elections, I call on platforms to increase their efforts in fighting disinformation and address Russian information manipulation, and this in all Member States and languages, whether big or small.”
The meeting also follows the announcement by X (formerly Twitter) of its withdrawal from the voluntary code at the end of May 2023. X is thus taking a different path from other major social networks and companies, such as Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) and TikTok. Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, responded to the withdrawal of X, owned by Elon Musk, with a post on the social network. Breton issued a reminder that, after 25 August 2023, all major platforms and search engines will have to comply with the new European Digital Services Act (DSA) requirements and that the fight against disinformation will be a legal obligation under the DSA.
On 26 September 2023, the major online platform signatories (Google, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok) delivered a second set of reports on the implementation of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. The entities provided further insight into their actions to fight disinformation, with more stable data covering a full 6-month reporting period. For the first time, new signatories of the Code (Alliance4Europe, Newtral, EFCSN and Seznam) submitted their baseline report. Given the potential of generative AI for creating and disseminating disinformation, platforms also report about their recent efforts to provide safeguards regarding new generative AI systems on their services.