The EU wants tech giants to pledge to fight fake news

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The EU is demanding that Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech giants pledge to curb the monetisation of false information — that would be fake news — through advertisement placements, according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters.

The document also lays out that the Commission wants smaller social media or search services, ad exchanges, ad-tech providers, private messaging services, communication agencies and e-payment services,  e-commerce platforms and crowdfunding/donation systems to commit to do the same.

EU’s fake news wrecking ball

The document essentially is aimed at shoring up to shore any wiggle room that exists in the voluntary code of practice on disinformation introduced in 2018. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Mozilla and TikTok have already signed up to it.

“One area, in particular, where the Code has failed to achieve sufficient progress is in the demonetisation of disinformation, where online advertisements still continue to incentivise the dissemination of disinformation,” the document said.

The European Union isn’t messing about; the document calls on tech giants to firm up eligibility requirements and moderation and review of content to make sure that users or groups that post misinformation on a regular basis cannot generate ad revenue. On top of that, the document puts the responsibility on platforms to be entirely transparent about posts that are political or issue-based; such posts have to be clearly labelled alongside the identities of whoever has paid for them.

Tech giants have until the end of September to come up with draft new commitments, while the EU will present the updated code on 26th May.

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