Meta, Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Twitter (TWTR.N), and Microsoft (MSFT.O) agreed on Thursday to take a tougher stance against disinformation under an updated EU code of practise that could result in hefty fines if they do not.
According to the European Commission, more than 30 signatories, including advertising bodies, have agreed to the updated Code of Practice on Disinformation.
The signatories agree to do more to combat deep fakes, fake accounts, and political advertising, and noncompliance can result in fines of up to 6% of a company’s global turnover, according to an EU executive, confirming a Reuters report last week.
The companies, which include TikTok and Amazon’s (AMZN.O) live streaming e-sports platform Twitch, have six months to meet their pledges and must present a progress report in early 2023.
“The new code demonstrates that Europe has learned its lessons and that we are no longer naive,” Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova said at a press conference.
She claimed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has accelerated the EU’s crackdown on fake news.
Sanctions could include barring companies from entering Europe, according to EU industry chief Thierry Breton.
“If there is consistent flouting of the rules, we can also consider blocking their access to our information space,” he said at a news conference.
The revised Code, according to critics such as the Association of Commercial Television and Video on Demand Services in Europe (ACT), has serious flaws.
“The Review makes no concrete commitments to limit “illegal manipulative behaviour.” Commitments are no more than a blanket statement to follow the law, which is self-evident and does not necessitate a Code “it said.