Disinfo Update 24/03/2019

Our weekly newsletter on disinformation issues.

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Code of Practice against disinformation

As expected, the March monthly report of the signatories of the EU Code of Practice against disinformation is out. Some progress has been made on political Ads Libraries by the platforms. But the Commission still expects more effort on issue-based advertising and collaboration with researchers and third-party experts. The latter point has been advocated by the research community and organisationssuch as Mozilla, which has published its open letter in March (signed by the EU DisinfoLab). As the elections are coming, the platforms are urged to take concrete measures to tackle disinformation online. Below you can find a short summary of the main implementations done by the platforms during March 2019.

Facebook:

  • Rolling out the political advertisement libraries in Europe for both Facebook and Instagram. Making the API Archive accessible on request. Facebook has also announced that a report on the Ads Library will be released mid-May.
  • Actions taken against the ads that have violated its policies for containing low quality, disruptive, misleading or false content.
  • Actions taken towards taking down eight coordinated inauthentic behaviour networks, originating in North Macedonia, Kosovo and Russia.

Google:

  • Increasing cooperation with fact-checking organisations and networks (e.g. FactCheckEU).
  • Launching the EU Elections Ads Transparency Report.
  • Google’s Ads Library has entered the testing phase.

In a recent blogpost, Google has announced several additional measures, including more visibility to Youtube videos that receive government or public funding.

Twitter:

  • Making political advertisement libraries publicly accessible.
  • Providing further details on the public disclosure of political ads in Twitter’s Ad Transparency Center.
  • Providing figures on actions undertaken against spam and fake accounts.

Twitter has also announced the possibility for users to report on accounts publishing misleading content on elections. The Commission has pointed out that unlike other signatories, Twitter did not report any metrics with respect to its commitments to improve the scrutiny of ad placements.

EU elections news and fact checks of the week

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Calendar and announcements 

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