According to an EU document, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies will have to take steps to combat deep fakes and fake accounts on their platforms or face heavy fines under a revised European Union code of behavior.
As part of its assault on fake news, the European Commission is set to release an updated code of practice on misinformation on Thursday.
The voluntary code, which was introduced in 2018, will now become a co-regulation program, with responsibility shared between regulators and code signatories. The revised guideline outlines examples of deceptive behavior, such as deep fakes and fake accounts, that signatories must address.
“Relevant signatories will adopt, reinforce and implement clear policies regarding impermissible manipulative behaviors and practices on their services, based on the latest evidence on the conducts and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) employed by malicious actors,” the document said.
Signatories will also be required to take steps to combat disinformation-based advertising and increase transparency in political advertising.
Deep fakes are highly detailed forgeries made by computer processes that have sparked outrage around the world, especially when employed in a political setting.
The code will also be tied to severe new EU legislation known as the Digital Services Act (DSA), which was agreed upon by the European Union’s 27 member states earlier this year and includes a section on countering disinformation.
Companies that fail to meet their commitments under the code might face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue, according to DSA guidelines. They have six months to put their plans in place after signing up for the code. Signatories will also be required to take steps to combat disinformation-based advertising and increase transparency in political advertising.
“The DSA provides a legal backbone to the Code of Practice against disinformation – including heavy dissuasive sanctions,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who is spearheading the EU’s anti-disinformation campaign, said.
Some of the revisions in the law are based on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the former refers to as a “special operation,” according to Commission Vice President Vera Jourova.
“Once the Code is operational, we will be better prepared to address disinformation, also coming from Russia,” she said in a statement.
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