The EU commission after going through the initial batch of monthly progress reports on 29th January told US tech giants Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla, and advertising businesses to enhance their actions against disinformation campaigns ahead of European elections in May or face regulation. The report mentions what they’re doing to help fight online disinformation and the commission looks less than impressed with tech giants’ ‘progress’ on the issue.
Notably, Platforms, in particular, Google, Facebook, and Twitter made terms last year to a voluntary EU code of practice on the issue. European Parliament will conduct elections in May while Denmark, Greece, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal Poland, and Ukraine all are ready to get a taste of elections by the polls in coming months.
Facebook has been the prime target of the commission after it was disclosed that a data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, acquired data from millions of Facebook profiles of US voters in a major data breach while working on US president Donald Trump's campaign.
The social network has also been blamed in the past for being nonchalant during the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2016 US election which allowed the platform to be used to spread misleading or hostile information.
The commission said the platforms have taken action on taking down fake accounts and moved towards transparency of political ads, but they want more efforts to be taken as the campaign ahead of May's election is already in line.
They added that "more significant progress is required" on the transparency of issue-based ads, or cooperation with fact-checkers and the research community and the pace of progress on these issues needs to be faster
Facebook has taken steps towards the implementation over all the commitments but now needs to offer better conviction on how it will work in cooperation with the research community across the whole EU.
Google has undertaken measures to put in place all its commitments, especially those designed to improve the inspection on ad placements and relevancy of political advertisement. The leading search engine said that they have taken several steps suchlike revealing whether political organizations or political issue lobbying groups were paying for European parliamentary election advertisements and putting together a library with such information.
Twitter has given top precedence to act against fake and suspicious accounts and automated systems/bots. The micro-blogging site had made various other changes including updated safety measures, improved tools, and resources for identifying and blocking malicious activity and tighter advertising standards to initiate better understanding among the public over these mentioned areas.
Besides, Mozilla is planning to bring out an updated version of its browser to stop cross-site tracking by default. However, the browser should be firmer on how this will restrict the information disclosed about users’ browsing history and online activities, which could be a targeting prospect for disinformation campaigns.