The European Union wants Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more in terms of curbing disinformation. The call came via a report published by the EU where it asked for more information to monitor the progress made especially “on the scrutiny of ad placement, transparency of political advertising, closure of fake accounts and marking systems for automated bots.”
All three [Facebook, Twitter and Google] had signed a Code of Practice to clamp down on fake news, which currently assuming an alarming dimension. You will recall that all three online platforms have been working together to support integrity of elections in various countries. Twitter recently suspended some influencer accounts on the eve of the Presidential elections held last week in Nigeria.
All three platforms, according to the EU, need to do more in the area of fighting disinformation. According to a statement released by the European Union, more actions still need to be taken to address the menace.
“However, we need to see more progress on the commitments made by online platforms to fight disinformation .Platforms have not provided enough details showing that new policies and tools are being deployed in a timely manner and with sufficient resources across all EU Member States,” the EU statement said. “The reports provide too little information on the actual results of the measures already taken.”
One key area in which the EU wants Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more is in identification of specific benchmarks to enable tracking and measurement of progress in the European Union. “The quality of the information provided varies from one signatory of the Code to another depending on the commitment areas covered by each report. This clearly shows that there is room for improvement for all signatories.”
As electoral campaigns ahead of the European elections will start in earnest in March, the EU encourages the online platforms to intensify their efforts as the situation looks worrisome.
“We also encourage platforms to strengthen their cooperation with fact-checkers and academic researchers to detect disinformation campaigns and make fact-checked content more visible and widespread.”
In January 2018, Facebook deployed machine learning to sustain the pressure on pages spreading fake news. The social media giant announced a number of measures that involve using machine learning to identify fake articles that are copied and pasted by various accounts.
Emphasis was placed on overseas Facebook pages that often target accounts in the US with financially motivated hoaxes and misinformation. The machine learning tool will not only identify pages operated by people who target unsuspecting users for the purpose of making money, it will also reduce their reach.
In 2016, Google said it took down 1.7 billion ads that violated its policies on ads. That figure, according to the company, more than double the number of ads banned in 2015:
“In 2016, we took down 1.7 billion ads that violated our advertising policies, more than double the amount of bad ads we took down in 2015. If you spent one second taking down each of those bad ads, it’d take you more than 50 years to finish. But our technology is built to work much faster,” said Scott Spencer, Google Director of Product Management Sustainable ads.