Facebook has repeatedly withheld critical data on its efforts to clamp down on disinformation ahead of the European elections, the EU’s office has said. Mark Zuckerberg’s firm was under fire from the European Commission for failing to supply it with the hard numbers, to establish it was living up to promises made at a code of conduct. The commission has also whined that the world’s most extensive social network had, despite its pledges, only set up fact checkers, – with the job of scrutinizing information shared on the site – in 8 of the EU’s 28 member states.
The company’s VP of global affairs and communications, the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, had claimed in January that Fb had made mistakes in the past, but was currently entering a brand new phase of reform, liability, and shift. In an indication of frustration in the lack of hard evidence to back up this claims a series of failures from Zuckerberg’s firm is going to be set out on Thursday at the second monthly update of the EU on the progress made by social network signers – Facebook, Google and Twitter – to some new code of conduct. Under the EU code, the net firms are urged to interrupt earnings for accounts and sites misrepresenting info, clamp down on bogus accounts and bots, and attach importance to more reliable sources of information while enhancing the transparency of financing of advertising.
EU sources said the sector wasn’t increasing its game. It’s very tough for us to see if they’re doing what they ought to be doing, said a source. Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for Security, and electronic economics commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, writing in the Guardian ahead of the publication of the progress report, warns the companies have only fallen further behind because of last month’s first report. They said: The results last time fell short of anticipation – we called on the platforms to go also and faster in their efforts to handle disinformation.
Sadly, despite some progress, as opposed to improving, they’ve fallen further behind. The lack of numbers is particularly worrying. Facebook has failed to offer all info, including any data on its actions in January on scrutiny of ad placements or efforts to interrupt advertising and monetization incentives for all those behind disinformation. The EU’s executive arm, which can be threatening to introduce regulation on disinformation unless the social network companies fall in line, added that it welcomed Facebook’s latest decision to share more info about political advertising on its stage with so-called good-faith researchers and organizations working on increasing transparency for the public. But they still have to live up to the criteria we’re asking of them – and that they signed up to, the commissioners cautioned.