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EU Fights Election Disinformation on Facebook and Instagram

Disinformation on Facebook and Instagram

The European Commission is investigating Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, for not adequately preventing false information and deceptive ads before the European Parliament elections. The investigation, driven by concerns over disinformation from countries like Russia, China, and Iran, as well as deceptive tactics by some EU political groups, comes as voting approaches from June 6 to 9.


Under the Digital Services Act, which began last year, large tech firms are required to eliminate illegal and harmful content or face potential fines of up to 6% of their global annual revenue. The EU is particularly looking into a Russian group known as Doppelganger, accused of replicating legitimate media to spread falsehoods. This group was first identified by Meta in 2022, which claims to have blocked thousands of related links.


Margrethe Vestager, EU’s digital chief, criticized Meta for opaque practices in content and ad moderation, prompting an official check on their compliance with the Digital Services Act. Meta, with over 250 million monthly users in Europe, insists its risk mitigation is robust.


The Commission has expressed concerns over the lack of effective tools for external monitoring of real-time discussions and election activities. They also noted Meta's discontinuation of CrowdTangle, a disinformation tracking tool, without a suitable replacement. Meta has been given five working days to respond to the EU about corrective actions taken.


Here are three essential key points from the news about the EU's investigation into Meta Platforms:

  1. EU Investigation: The European Commission is investigating Meta Platforms for not effectively stopping false information and misleading ads before the European Parliament elections.

  2. Digital Services Act Compliance: The investigation aims to determine if Meta is complying with the Digital Services Act, which requires tech companies to eliminate harmful content or face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue.

  3. Monitoring and Tools: The EU is concerned about Meta's lack of effective external tools for monitoring real-time discussions and election activities, especially following the discontinuation of the CrowdTangle tracking tool.



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FAQs

Q1. Why is the EU investigating Meta?

The EU is investigating Meta because they believe Meta hasn't done enough to stop misleading ads and fake information from spreading on their platforms.


Q2. What could happen to Meta if they don't follow the Digital Services Act?

If Meta does not comply with the Digital Services Act, it could be fined up to 6% of their annual global turnover.


Q3. What did the EU say about Meta's election monitoring tools?

The EU criticized Meta for not having an effective tool for third parties to monitor real-time civic discussions and elections.


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