On May 28-29 in Brussels, join the community working against disinformation: case studies, civil society initiatives and tools will be presented.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- FactCheckEU has proven that the blurry videos of crowds recently spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric in Europe and in the US, were not shot in France or in Denmark but in Algeria.
- FactCheckEU has proven wrong the assumption that the Italian government is the most approved in Europe.
- Following the research conducted by EU DisinfoLab, Le Monde has revealed that the same person was standing behind several suspicious automated accounts on Twitter promoting disinformation and providing automated support to pro-Trump, pro-Putin and far-right content.
- The article of EU DisinfoLab Webinar with Global Disinformation Index is now online.
- Last week, Bellingcat and the Global Legal Action Network have announced the release of the first round of investigations examining the campaign of airstrikes carried out by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015. One of these investigations will be presented at the EU DisinfoLab conference.
- Eileen Donahoe and Megan MacDuffee Metzger have published an article explaining concerns behind the development of artificial intelligence by authoritarian regimes.
- Last week, following the alert of the organization Avaaz, Facebook has removed three far-right networks engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior spreading politically divisive content in Spain ahead of the general elections, which took place last Sunday.
- Singapore’s fake news laws will likely come into effect in the second half of this year, as the country joins the ranks of nations trying to curb the spread of online falsehoods.
- The joint investigation of Facebook, Inc. by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia is now public.
- French audiovisual regulator has recently opened its consultations on guidelines for online platforms to tackle disinformation. The consultation is open until 10 May 2019.
- Former Youtube engineer Guillaume Chaslot has described how Youtube algorithms have massively recommended Russia Today videos on Mueller report analysis.
Calendar and announcements
- 28-29 May @ Brussels: The program of the Annual EU DisinfoLab Conference has been updated. Check it out here and hurry up to register (seats are limited).
- 6-7 June @ Brussels: Annual Conference on European Media Law 2019.
- 19-20 June @ UNESCO Headquarters in Paris: 63rd meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication.