Twitter Called Out For Inadequate Disinformation Report

Twitter Called Out For Inadequate Disinformation Report

Twitter has been singled out for criticism by the EU for failing to provide enough information about its efforts to fight disinformation.

Unlike other signatories of the voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation, such as Google, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok, it failed to send a full report detailing how it is implementing its commitments.

The reports are supposed to include information on how much advertising revenue flowing to disinformation actors each company has prevented; the number or value of political ads accepted and labelled or rejected; instances of manipulative behaviors detected, such as the creation and use of fake accounts; and information about the impact of fact-checking.

The reports are submitted to a new Transparency Centre designed to ensure visibility and accountability about platforms’ efforts to fight disinformation.

The code now has 38 signatories, from major tech platforms such as Google, Meta, and TikTok to NGOs, fact-checking organizations and software firms.

However, according to the EU, while the reports from other major platforms amounted to 150 pages or more, Twitter’s was only 80 pages long. It was ‘short of data’ says the EU, and lacked information on commitments to empower the fact-checking community.


“We must have more transparency and cannot rely on the online platforms alone for the quality of information. They need to be independently verifiable,” says Věra Jourová, EU vice-president for values and transparency.

“I am disappointed to see that Twitter report lags behind others and I expect a more serious commitment to their obligations stemming from the Code.”

The reports are intended to act as a baseline to provide a first state of play on the steps firms have taken to implement their commitments under the code, and will be available to citizens, researchers and NGOs. The next set of reports is due in July.

The reports reveal that during the third quarter of 2022, Google prevented more than €13 million of advertising revenues from flowing to disinformation actors in the EU.

The figure for MediaMath, a demand-side platform that allows ad buyers better management of programmatic ads, was €18 million.

TikTok says it removed more than 800,000 fake accounts during the period, while Meta reported that in December 2022, about 28 million fact-checking labels were applied on Facebook and 1.7 million on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Microsoft reported that the news reliability ratings provided under its partnership with Newsguard were displayed 84,211 times in the Edge browser discover pane to EU users in December 2022; and Twitch says that between October and December, it blocked 270,921 inauthentic accounts and botnets created on its platform and took action against 32 hijacking and impersonation attempts.

The limited nature of Twitter’s report is perhaps unsurprising, given the company’s recent announcement that it is scrapping free third-party developer access to its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

The company says it relied on its Community Notes, which uses fact-checking volunteers, as the centerpiece of its report, while admitting that these are not available on every member state.

We have reached out to Twitter for a response, and will update.


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