EU Commission: Platforms fight Covid-19 disinformation better


Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and TikTok have made progress in the fight against disinformation around SARS-Cov-2 and the disease Covid-19 it causes. The EU Commission attests this to the operators of large social networks based on their reports on relevant measures. The platforms have therefore blocked “hundreds of thousands of accounts, offers and advertising” with misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccinations.

At the same time, according to the Brussels government institution, the operators increased “the visibility of serious content” and health information for millions of users. At the same time, these guidelines were included in their terms of use to remove disinformation about vaccines. In addition, cooperation with fact checkers has been intensified in order to make verified content better known, especially through vaccinations.

The social media providers committed themselves to the commission In early June on the reporting programto rebuild trust that has been lost in infodemia and to be accountable to the public for its efforts in this area. The one on Thursday published reports focus on the activities that the operators took in December and January.

Twitter said it had expanded its Covid-19 “misleading information” policy to include vaccines. In addition, from 2021 onwards, tweets with unsubstantiated rumors, controversial allegations and incomplete or out of context relevant information were flagged or a warning was issued. 1081 sponsored posts alone would have violated the relevant advertising guidelines.

According to its own information, TikTok has introduced a new vaccine notice for all videos with words or hashtags about Covid-19 vaccines since December 21. In Germany, relevant moving images were then clicked 6.3 percent less. In Italy the minus was 5.3 percent, in France 1.5 percent

Google reported that it has expanded a search function that displays a list of approved vaccines at users’ locations in response to inquiries and is currently available in 17 EU countries. 1800 accounts have been deleted, 5500 URLs with harmful claims about Covid-19 removed. More than 700,000 misleading or dangerous videos were deleted on YouTube after the guidelines were updated in October.

On the company’s own LinkedIn network, official information about vaccines and vaccinations is now available on a separate page with content on Covid-19, Microsoft announced. This is also distributed to around 9.7 million members via a “daily compendium of relevant news”, the “European Daily Rundown”. In December, 323,000 submissions for advertisements were blocked because of relevant disinformation.

Facebook, according to its report, has begun removing false claims about vaccines that public health experts have identified as such on Instagram. In addition, official information on this subject is now available on Covid-19 awareness panels. The network’s virtual corona information center was visited by 15 million members in the EU in December. A decision by the Facebook Complaint Board will make it more difficult for the operator in the future to take action against contributions to allegedly Covid-19 healing drug combinations with chlorine.

“The pandemic has become a breeding ground for false claims and conspiracy theories, and platforms are important amplifiers for this type of news,” said Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the Commission on Values ​​and Transparency. The agreed cooperation is therefore also necessary after the end of the first six-month reporting period. The program will therefore be extended for half a year. The platforms should provide even more relevant data and describe the impact of their actions at EU level in more detail.


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