The working group of the multi-stakeholder forum on online disinformation has delivered a draft Code of Practice to tackle online disinformation. The working group is composed of online platforms, leading social networks, advertisers and the advertising industry. A final code of practice is expected in September.

The draft Code of Practice and its annex map out the Commission's objectives outlined in the Communication "Tackling online Disinformation", and should lead to a measurable reduction of online disinformation by addressing the following five main areas:

  • Improving the scrutiny of ad placements to demonetize purveyors of disinformation;
  • Ensuring transparency of political advertising and issue-based advertising to enable users to identify promoted content;
  • Ensuring the integrity of platforms' services including by identifying and closing fake accounts and using appropriate mechanisms to signal bot-driven interactions;
  • Making it easier for users to discover and access different news sources representing alternative viewpoints;
  • Empowering the research community by granting access to platforms' data that are necessary to continuously monitor online disinformation.

At its third meeting, on 17 July, Commissioner Gabriel thanked the Forum for their work on the draft Code. She stated: "I welcome the inclusive and constructive process so far which has led to this first draft of the Code of Practice, delivered within very tight deadlines.  It is now up to the Sounding Board to deliver its opinion on the Code in early September, and I rely on it to improve it. I am confident that the work taken up by the two groups will lead to an important achievement in the fight against online disinformation".

The Working Group issued the following statement: "The Code of Practice responds to the suggestion of the Commission High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation that as a first step, a non-regulatory multi-stakeholder approach is taken to tackle online disinformation. To achieve this milestone, we've worked with genuine commitment and a sense of urgency to produce the draft and are grateful for the guidance of the Commission on this important topic. We look forward to feedback from the Sounding Board -- and to the next step in this process".

The Sounding Board of the Forum, which is providing advice on the Code and is composed of associations representing the media sector, civil society and fact-checking organisations as well as academia, also issued a statement: "The Sounding Board acknowledges the work undertaken to date and thanks the Working Group for their first draft but feels it does not yet address adequately the full set of Objectives as per the Communication. Therefore, the Sounding Board suggests that there should be significant improvements, in terms of concrete commitments and clarity on who commits to what, measurable KPIs and redress mechanisms for potential breaches of the Code. The Sounding Board remains committed to provide further constructive feedback throughout the process".

The Sounding Board is expected to deliver its opinion by early September. A final Code of Practice will be adopted by the end of September.

More information about the Multistakeholder Forum.

More information about the European Commission's policy on fake news and online disinformation.

Related documents: