Big Tech Companies Have Just Reached An Agreement To Target News Even More

( Last week, the European Commission published an updated code of practice regarding disinformation as part of its crackdown on “fake news.”

Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter will face hefty fines if they do not take measures to counter “deepfakes” and fake accounts on their platforms.

The code of practice, introduced in 2018, was initially voluntary. But with last Thursday’s update, the code became a co-regulation scheme between EU regulators and the signatories to the code.

And on Thursday, Google, Twitter, Meta, and Microsoft were among those who became signatories to the code and agreed to take a tougher line in combatting disinformation.

The new code received over 30 signatories, including advertisers.

These signatories will increase their efforts to combat “deepfakes,” fake accounts, and political advertising. Non-compliance with the agreement could lead to fines of as much as 6 percent of the company’s global turnover. All signatories were given six months to be in compliance and must supply a progress report to the European Commission in January 2023.

Signatories agree to adopt and implement “clear policies regarding impermissible manipulative behaviors and practices” on their platforms.

The Code of Practice will be linked to the EU’s tough new Digital Service Act the 27-country European Union adopted earlier this year that includes a section on combatting disinformation.

Signatories will also be required to take measures to prevent advertising that contains disinformation while providing transparency on political advertising.

In a statement to Reuters last week, EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who heads up the EU’s disinformation crackdown, boasted that the Digital Service Act has given the Code of Practice its “legal backbone” to crack down on disinformation while imposing “heavy dissuasive sanctions.”

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said the changes in the Code of Practice were prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a statement to Reuters, Jourova said the new code, once operational, will help the EU better address disinformation coming from Russia.