Assessment of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. Achievements and areas for further improvement, Brussels, 11 September 2020
The Code of Practice on Disinformation provides a framework for a structured dialogue between relevant industry actors, the Commission, and ERGA authorities. The Code sets general policy objectives, identifies relevant requirements for appropriate measures, and enables public disclosure of information relating to the implementation of those measures, thereby contributing to increase the platforms’accountability. These results represent significant progress towards greater transparency and responsibility in the digital environment.
The assessment document, while highlighting the Code’s main achievements, focuses in particular on the Code’s shortcomings, with a view to stimulating reflection on improvements and strengthening the dialogue with stakeholders. The lack of access to data allowing for an independent evaluation of emerging trends and threats posed by online disinformation, as well as the absence of meaningful key performance indicators, are fundamental disadvantages of the current Code. At present, it remains difficult to precisely assess the timeliness and impact of signatories’ actions, since the Commission and public authorities are still very much reliant on the willingness of platforms to share data.
A structured monitoring programme may prove a pragmatic way to mobilise the platforms and secure their accountability. The programme for monitoring disinformation around COVID-19 foreseen in the June 2020 Communication will be an opportunity to verify the adequacy of such an approach. The findings set out in the assessment document should support the Commission’s steps towards pertinent policy initiatives, including the European Democracy Action, as well as the Digital Services Act, which will aim to formulate overarching rules applicable to all information society services.
In addition some concrete follow-up actions can also be enlisted:
- Introducing a more efficient model for cooperation between platforms and the research community;
- Examining issues linked to the effective application of data protection rules in elections, including transparency requirements and the use of micro-targeting techniques and algorithms;
- Launching specific actions aimed at further empowering citizens to support media literacy and critical thinking;
- Supporting media freedom, media pluralism and journalism, including through better protection of journalists and in the context of the transformation of the media sector;
- Strengthening citizens’ awareness and societal resilience, including through the establishment of the European Digital Media Observatory;
- Examining the impact of new technologies and techniques on free and fair elections through a study.
Compiled by Media 21 Foundation from: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/assessment-code-practice-disinformation-achievements-and-areas-further-improvement