Tech firms are gearing up to sign the European Union’s fresh anti-disinformation code, having made concessions on the types of data they are willing to share with countries.
The EU has been on a mission to crack down on fake news and propaganda, and the new code will be backed up by the Digital Services Act.
According to a confidential report seen by the Financial Times, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and TikTok will now be forced to disclose how they are removing, blocking or curbing harmful content in advertising and in the promotion of content. It will also have to share data to specific countries when requested.
EU’s vice-president for values and transparency in charge of the code Věra Jourová said that “to respond to disinformation effectively, there is a need for country- and language-specific data. We know disinformation is different in every country, and the big platforms will now have to provide meaningful data that would allow to understand better the situation on the country level.”
It is understood that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the urgency of regulation from a European perspective.
Speaking last month, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said that the UK government should be putting transparency into place from day one when pushing through the Online Safety Bill.
She pointed to Europe’s recent Digital Services Act as a pioneer for embedding this practice into law, and said it [Europe] has “really taken the ball and ran with it”.