Clubhouse, Vimeo, DoubleVerify and more set to sign stronger disinformation code in EU – TechCrunch
Audio social network Clubhouse, video-sharing platform Vimeo, and anti-ad fraud start-up DoubleVerify are part of a group of companies and tech organizations preparing to adhere to an enhanced version of the code. European Union good practice on online disinformation, the Commission said today. .
Last May, the EU executive said it would strengthen the (again) voluntary code that aims to drive joint industry action to tackle the spread of harmful disinformation online.
He called on small digital services and ad technology companies to sign up – saying he particularly wanted wider participation, and not just the usual platform giants (some of whom were in the first group of signatories).
Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla were among the first tech platforms to adhere to the EU’s disinformation code in 2018, while TikTok joined it last summer.
Eight newbies are said to be preparing to accept the hardened code now.
In addition to the three aforementioned startups, the Commission said organizations that provide specific expertise and technical solutions to tackle disinformation, such as Avaaz, Globsec, Logically, NewsGuard and WhoTargetsMe, are also preparing to join.
“Substantial additional efforts are needed to reduce the flow of harmful disinformation, as illustrated by recent election campaigns and reports by signatories on the COVID-19 disinformation monitoring program,” the EC wrote in a press release.
Among the shortcomings that the Commission has said it wants the revised code to address are: inconsistent and incomplete application of the code across platforms and member states; gaps in the coverage of Code commitments; the lack of an appropriate monitoring mechanism, including key performance indicators; a lack of commitments on access to data from platforms for research on disinformation; and limited participation of stakeholders, especially from the advertising industry.
So the whole laundry list, then.
Although the intention is to strengthen the code, it will remain self-regulated. It therefore remains to be seen whether it will become a “strong EU instrument”, as the Commission says – without having any real legal force.
For large internet platforms there will be, if not literal fangs, then threatening grunts as enforcing the toughened code will be considered as part of broader inbound digital regulations – a.k.a. the bloc’s digital services law. – which aims to increase Internet companies. “Accountability in a number of areas.
And if self-regulation still fails to advance harmful online disinformation, like false information about COVID-19 vaccines or election interference, the Commission could still come up with legislation. However, he seems reluctant to do so in such a subjective and controversial area given the risks of being accused of censoring free speech.
Pan-European rules for the transparency of political advertisements are expected to be introduced next year, in a targeted bill.
In a statement on the eight new ‘potential signatories’, who have joined the review process as an enhanced version of the disinformation code is drafted, Věra Jourová, the vice president of values and transparency, said: ” I am delighted to see new players from relevant sectors responding to our call and committing to the overhaul of the Code of Good Practice. I encourage others, including platforms, messaging services and ecosystem players of online advertising, to join us as soon as possible to co-shape the process.
“The strengthened Code cannot fall short of the expectations that we set out in our May Guidelines,” she added. “Online gamers have a special responsibility for the dissemination and monetization of disinformation. They must become more transparent, accountable and secure from their conception. “
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, added: “I welcome the fact that more and more online platforms, technology providers, civil society and expert organizations are formally engaging in the fight against disinformation. The private sector must be ambitious and anticipate the new EU rules on digital services (DSA). Now is the time to show that they are leading by example.