EU to force Google, Facebook and Twitter to fight deepfakes

The European Commission is expected to publish a new version of its code of practice on disinformation on Thursday June 16. Deepfakes are among the examples of manipulative behavior the EU wants to tackle.

Very worrying by its nature and extent, disinformation on social networks is becoming increasingly difficult to detect. And deepfakes help make it even more pernicious. These image manipulation techniques using artificial intelligence make it possible to divert the speech of a politician or a public figure in a completely credible way to make him say anything and everything.

Aware of the problem, Brussels wants to impose new obligations on platforms, while the dissemination of false information and deepfakes has continued to proliferate over the past decade, with sometimes disastrous consequences for democracy. In this context, the European Commission should publish a new version of its code of good practice on disinformation on Thursday, June 16. Introduced in 2018, this voluntary code will become a co-regulatory mechanism, with shared responsibility between the regulators and the signatories of the said code.

The new version of the latter notably highlights examples of manipulative behavior, such as deepfakes and fake accounts, which signatories will have to tackle, according to an EU document seen by Reuters. “Applicable Signatories will adopt, enforce and implement clear policies regarding objectionable manipulative behavior and practices on their Services, based on the latest evidence on the conduct and tactics, techniques and procedures employed by malicious actors”indicates the document.

This code of good practice on disinformation will also be linked to the new rules brought about by the entry into force in 2023 of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a text which aims to better regulate the operation of the platforms of technological giants, including in terms of fight against disinformation. This new legislation particularly targets social networks, and more generally sites with more than 45 million active users within the EU, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The DSA provides for fines of up to 6% of the annual turnover of these companies. In the event of a repeat offence, the penalties could be increased, even going as far as banishment from European territory. “The DSA provides a legal basis for the Code of Practice against Disinformation, including strong deterrent penalties”Thierry Breton, European commissioner for the internal market, who leads the EU crackdown on disinformation, told Reuters. “Once the code is operational, we will be better prepared to deal with disinformation, also from Russia”added Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission.

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