EU urged Google, Facebook and Twitter to extend watch on COVID-19 fake news

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The European Commission has told Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to continue monthly reports on their efforts to tackle fake news, especially on COVID-19, for another six months.

Social media and online platforms have come under fire globally over the spread of fake news, leading to calls for regulators to force them to do more or face cumbersome rules.

The companies, together with TikTok and advertisers, have signed the European Union’s code of practice to tackle the spread of disinformation on their platforms, and had to submit reports on their efforts during an initial six-month period.

The reports will continue for another six months because of their relevance during the virus pandemic, the EU executive said.

The companies have been told to provide more data on how disinformation spreads during the coronavirus crisis and on the granular impact of their actions in EU countries.

“The pandemic has become a breeding ground for false claims and conspiracy theories and platforms are important amplifiers of this type of messages,” Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova said in a statement.

“We must continue working together to improve our fight with disinformation, but we need more transparency and better effort from the online platforms,” she said.

REUTERS