The reports published today focus on actions taken to limit COVID-19 and vaccines disinformation by the platforms in November and December 2021. The reports are delivered in in the context of the COVID-19 disinformation monitoring programme set up under the 10 June 2020 Joint Communication. In view of the evolution of the pandemic the monitoring programme has been prolonged until June 2022.
The Commission services acknowledge the efforts made so far by the signatories of the Code of Practice in the framework of the monitoring programme, and in particular the platforms actions supporting the Member States vaccination campaigns. At the same time, platform signatories should make further efforts to provide Member State level data and speed up the work regarding the review of the Code of Practice and its monitoring system.
Fighting COVID-19 vaccines disinformation
Platforms report on their updated policies and initiatives to reduce the spread of COVID-19 vaccines disinformation in November and December, for example:
- TikTok report shows that the number of videos with a vaccine tag applied has increased on its channels in Europe, from 90 156 in October to 148 005 in November and 265 759 in December, with the highest jump in Germany, and a threefold increase in Italy and Spain.
- Google reports it has updated with more content the information panels on COVID-19 vaccination available when searching in Google Search. The panels are available in all 27 countries of the EU, and since November, Google is starting to include also information related to paediatric vaccination.
- Twitter reports on design updates to labels applied to misleading tweets related to COVID and vaccines, to make them easier to spot. According to Twitter research, more people clicked the new labels and fewer people retweeted or liked potentially misleading tweets with these labels. Also, Twitter has implemented dedicated prompts containing vaccine related trustworthy information in Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Belgium in November and December.
- Microsoft reports under its updated policies that it has allowed some COVID-19 related vaccine advertising from public authorities, which generated aggregated 733 487 impressions and 72 307 clicks in the EU between November and December.
- Facebook reported removing a network managed by an anti-vax movement called V_V in France and Italy that was responsible for organising mass harassment targeted at medical professionals, journalists and elected officials.
Further reporting for November and December
The reports provide further information illustrating actions taken to fight COVID-19 related disinformation and the impact of these actions through November and December 2021. Some examples from the reports:
- TikTok reports that also the number of videos tagged with the COVID-19 tag increased across Europe, reaching 15 024 videos tagged in November and 28 421 in December, from 9 948 in October.
- Twitter reports that following violations of the COVID-19 misleading information policy, in November it suspended 431 accounts and removed 4 129 pieces of content, while in December, it suspended 666 accounts and removed 4 559 pieces of content globally.
- Google reports that between November and December fact checks published by EU fact checking organisations appeared in Google Search over 6 000 000 times a week on average, adding up to 55 000 000 impressions.
- Microsoft reports that the number of views of the Bing COVID-19 experience in Europe in November increased to 2 977 228, while in December it decreased to 1 826 182. This trend has been particularly prominent in Germany, France, Austria, The Netherlands, and Romania.
- Facebook reports that during November 110 000 pieces of content have been removed on Facebook and Instagram in the EU for violating COVID-19 and vaccines misinformation policies. During December, it removed 109 000 pieces of content in the EU.