Elon Musk’s Twitter fails first EU disinformation test

Elon Musk’s Twitter fails first EU disinformation test
Опубликовано: Thursday, 09 February 2023 07:33

Social media giant hands in incomplete report, drawing ire of EU top officials.

Twitter failed to complete its first European Union test on how it deals with disinformation, just a few months before the bloc’s major content law — the Digital Services Act — and its potentially sweeping fines will start to apply.

Dozens of tech companies, including major social media firms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, were asked to hand in a report this month on how they implemented the EU’s anti-disinformation charter, the 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation, agreed in June 2022. Tech firms were asked to provide hundreds of detailed numbers and data on how they tackle falsehoods and foreign interference on their platforms.

But Elon Musk’s social network Twitter was the only tech company that provided an incomplete report, short of data and with no information on what its plan to cooperate with fact-checkers is, according to the European Commission.

"I am disappointed to see that Twitter’s report lags behind others," European Commission Vice President for Values Věra Jourová said in a statement. "I expect a more serious commitment to their obligations stemming from the Code."

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The code is voluntary. But by complying, social media companies can ease some of their compliance obligations under the Digital Services Act (DSA) and avoid fines of up to 6 percent of their global revenues if they fall foul of the standards. Big Tech platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU will start facing investigations as soon as September 2023, and Twitter is expected to fall under this category.

Among the data social media firms were asked to provide are: How they detect and stop coordinated foreign manipulation campaigns; how they cut advertising money for propaganda actors; how they label political ads and let researchers access their data. All the data had to be broken down for each of the 27 EU countries.

Twitter is also expected to cut researchers’ free access to its data later Thursday. Many of Twitter’s employees working on trust and safety issues have either been fired or have left the company since tech mogul Musk bought Twitter in late October 2022.

"It comes as no surprise that the degree of quality var[ies] greatly according to the resources companies have allocated to this project," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in a statement.

The reports on the EU’s revamped charter on disinformation are expected to be released later Thursday. More than 30 platforms and organizations have signed on to the initiative. A next round of reports will come in July.

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