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Jun 22 2022

EU publishes strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation

On the 16 June 2022, a strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation was published.

The updated Code was developed following the 2021 Commission Guidance and taking into account the lessons learnt from the COVID19 crisis and the war in Ukraine.

The 34 signatories include major online platforms, notably Meta, Google, Twitter, TikTok, and Microsoft, as well as a variety of other players like smaller or specialised platforms, the online ad industry, ad-tech companies, fact-checkers, civil society or that offer specific expertise and solutions to fight disinformation.

Building on the 2018 Code of Practice on Disinformation which brought together industry players to commit to voluntary commitments to counter disinformation, the strengthened Code aims to address the shortcomings of the previous Code, calling for stronger and more detailed commitments and measures.

The new Code contains commitments to:

  • Broaden participation: the Code is not just for big platforms, but also involves a variety of diverse players with a role in mitigating the spread of disinformation, and more signatories are welcome to join;
  • Cut financial incentives for spreading disinformation by ensuring that purveyors of disinformation do not benefit from advertising revenues;
  • Cover new manipulative behaviours such as fake accounts, bots or malicious deep fakes spreading disinformation;
  • Empower users with better tools to recognise, understand and flag disinformation;
  • Expand fact-checking in all EU countries and all its languages, while making sure fact-checkers are fairly rewarded for their work;
  • Ensure transparent political advertising by allowing users to easily recognise political ads thanks to better labelling and information on sponsors, spend and display period;
  • Better support researchers by giving them better access to platforms' data;
  • Evaluate its own impact through a strong monitoring framework and regular reporting from platforms on how they're implementing their commitments;
  • Set up a Transparency Centre and Task Force for an easy and transparent overview of the implementation of the Code, keeping it future-proof and fit for purpose.

Disinformation is a form of invasion of our digital space, with tangible impact on our daily lives. Online platforms need to act much strongly, especially on the issue of funding. Spreading disinformation should not bring a single euro to anyone. To be credible, the new Code of Practice will be backed up by the DSA - including for heavy dissuasive sanctions. Very large platforms that repeatedly break the Code and do not carry out risk mitigation measures properly risk fines of up to 6% of their global turnover.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market

Together with the recently agreed Digital Services Act and the upcoming legislation on transparency and targeting of political advertising, the strengthened Code of Practice is an essential part of the Commission's toolbox for fighting the spread of disinformation in the EU.

Signatories will have 6 months to implement the commitments and measures to which they have signed up. At the beginning of 2023, they will provide the Commission with their first implementation reports.

Taking into account expert advice and support from the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) and the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), the Commission will regularly assess the progress made in the implementation of the Code, based on the granular qualitative and quantitative reporting expected from signatories.

More informartion on the Code is available at the Central hub on the Code of Practice on disinformation

Download the Code here