Representatives of online platforms, leading social networks, advertisers and advertising industry agreed on a self-regulatory Code of Practice to address the spread of online disinformation and fake news. This is the first time worldwide that industry agrees, on a voluntary basis, to self-regulatory standards to fight disinformation. The Code aims at achieving the objectives set out by the Commission’s Communication presented in April 2018 by setting a wide range of commitments, from transparency in political advertising to the closure of fake accounts and demonetization of purveyors of disinformation. It seeks to reduce online disinformation in five areas:
- Demonetizing online advertising for disinformation
- Making sure that political adverts are clearly identified
- Closing down fake accounts and bots
- Reducing the risks of social media »echo chambers« by making it easier to find alternative views and different news sources
- Making data from platforms available to researchers to monitor online disinformation
The Code includes an annex identifying best practices that signatories will apply to implement the Code’s commitments. The Commission has also published the opinion of the Sounding board of the Multi-stakeholder forum on the Code of Practice.
The Code and other initiatives set forth by the Commission are essential steps in ensuring transparent, fair and trustworthy online campaign activities ahead of the European elections in spring 2019.