The EU-Commission is pushing tech-gigants to implement restrictions on their platforms in the name of “tackling disinformation”. Google adjust their search algorithms according to the EU-Commissions wishes.
CODE OF PRACTICE ON DISINFORMATION
The EU-Commission has for a long time being worried that “fake news” or “disinformation” would influence the EU-elections of 2019. Because of that the Commission has started a cooperation with the tech-gigants with the purpose of getting them to stop disinformation on their platforms (Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla). The project is called ‘Code on Practice on Disinformation’ and started in 2018. The EU-Commission states that the signatories of the Code have committed to “taking precise, measurable and concrete measures to fight online disinformation”.
“AUTHENTIC AND AUTHORITATIVE INFORMATION IN GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS”
In the EU-Commissions press release from January 2019 one can read that the IT-platforms reports on a monthly basis to the EU-Commission on how their work against disinformation is progressing.
About Google the EU-Commission says:
“Google has also taken steps to provide users with information, tools and support to empower them in their online experience: its ranking algorithms priorities relevant, authentic and authoritative information in the search results, and the Fact Check label is available to users in all EU 28 Member States”.
This means that Google adjusts its search algorithms according to the EU-Commissions wishes.
“Googles work is making progress with regard to the scrutiny of ads placements through its Ad Sense network, the fight against fake accounts and impostor websites”
Does that mean that Google exclude sites that the EU-Commission consider to be “impostor“?
When it comes to Twitter the EU-Commission says that Twitter are doing progress in stopping “inauthentic content and disinformation” but is not doing enough to restrict “purveyors of disinformation” from promoting their tweets.
“Twitter has prioritized new measures designed to act against malicious actors harnessing the vulnerabilities of its services, in particular the closure of fake or suspicious accounts and automated systems/bots used to spam or increase the distribution of inauthentic content and disinformation. On the other hand, its report does not sufficiently discuss how its advertising policies restrict persistent purveyors of disinformation from promoting their tweets and achieving prominence in user timelines”.
Obviously it is the EU-Commission that decides which groups or persons that are “purveyors of disinformation”.
When it comes to Mozilla it’s quite clear that Mozilla is obeying the EU-Commissions wishes:
“Mozilla is about to launch an upgraded version of its browser to block cross-site tracking by default. This will limit the information revealed about users’ browsing activity, which may be harnessed in support of disinformation campaigns. The upgraded browser will be available across the EU”.
“THERE MUST BE A REDUCTION OF FAKE WEBSITES”
The EU-Commission also wants a reduction of “fake websites”.
“There should also be a reduction in the number of fake websites: i.e. sites that are designed to look like those of a particular media outlet or legitimate political candidate and whose intention is to promote disinformation”.
And of course, any account on social media that spreads “disinformation” should be banned.
“The Code should also contribute to a reduction of fake accounts that manipulate public opinion by spreading and amplifying disinformation”.
Video above: Commissioner for the Security Union “Sir” Julian King have a speech on #Disinfoweek in Brussels in January 2019. An event made together with the Atlantic Council (NATO:s think tank). King means that disinformation represents a serious threat to our shared values and to our democratic processes. Today’s digital tools has made spreading disinformation so much easier, cheaper, far more potentially impactful than it’s been in the past. Malicious actors spread disinformation. The Commissions in-house Cyber Response Team have analyzed over 30 different incidents affecting elections inside and outside the EU. The European Parliamentary Election of 2019 is a target for disinformation. East Stratcom Task Force helps EU understand the disinformation from Russia. We need to see the internet platforms make some progress on this subject since they are the main vector for spread of disinformation. We urged the IT-platforms in April 2018 to take action against political disinformation and we made a Code of Practice on Disinformation in which the tech companies agreed on in September 2018. King says that this is absolutely not about censorship. King is though disappointed over the platforms progress in this matter. King also says that the EU-Commission is working outside the borders of EU in this issue. The work against disinformation will not end in may since EU is rich in elections. King say that we must ensure that our democracy remain strong.
A ROBUST INFORMATION ECO-SYSTEM
The EU-Commission wants to make the “information Eco-system more robust” by having fact-checkers making sure that the content online is based on facts and evidence.
“The role of fact-checkers is essential in tackling disinformation. Their work contributes to make the information ecosystem more robust by verifying and assessing the veracity of content based on facts and evidence. The Commission’s aim is to facilitate cooperation between European fact-checkers through the creation of a network of European fact-checkers”.
Does that mean that the IT-platforms will have to remove content that is not “factual“?
The IT-companies monthly reports to the EU-Commission: