The reports published today focus on the platforms’ actions taken in June 2021 to limit COVID-19 and vaccines disinformation. The reports are delivered in in the context of the COVID-19 disinformation monitoring programme set up under the 10 June 2020 Joint Communication.
The reports provide updated information about actions taken by the signatories to fight COVID-19 and vaccines related disinformation on their services. The current signatories of the Code have also published a joined call for interest for new signatories.
Fighting COVID-19 vaccines disinformation
Platforms report on their updated policies and initiatives to reduce the spread of COVID-19 vaccines disinformation in June, for example:
- Twitter continues to report on how it enforces its COVID policy. It uses human reviewers to label the violation of its COVID policy, with the aim to feed and speed automated and machine-learning tools to improve the identification process. Twitter has also introduced a comprehensive mechanism related to the removal of harmful false information based on “strikes”, with an appeal mechanism already in place.
- TikTok reports that it continues working with national governments on their campaign supporting vaccination. In particular, the campaign run with the Irish government reached over 1 million views and over 20000 likes, and the initiative also received national press coverage. In France TikTok renewed the COVID-19 Resource Hub, including more up-to-date videos from the French government as trustworthy information. TikTok reports that it continues to work on improving its systems to identify videos to be tagged with the COVID vaccine tag, and the number of videos tagged increased from 75243 videos in May to 114368 in June.
- Microsoft extended its partnership with NewsGuard. Under the agreement Microsoft will continue to sponsor NewsGuard’s news literacy program, have access to NewsGuard’s ratings and data, and allow users of Edge to use the NewsGuard extension to receive warning labels about websites that spread unreliable information, including COVID-19 and vaccines disinformation.
- Google continues to work with public health authorities and other authoritative sources to show information about vaccination locations in Google Search and Maps. The feature is now available in France, Poland, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland.
- Facebook reports on actions taken in cooperation with international health authorities to increase public perception of vaccine efficacy and safety, i.e. through ad campaigns run by authoritative sources.
Further reporting for June
The reports provide further information illustrating actions taken to fight COVID-19 related disinformation and the impact of these actions through June 2021. Some examples from the reports:
- Twitter reports that their central COVID hub “covid19.twitter.com” has been visited by over 160 million people, over two billion times. Since updating their policies last year to respond to the pandemic, they have challenged 11.7 million accounts, suspended 1496 accounts (+156 compared to May), and removed over 43010 Tweets worldwide (+5110 compared to May) for the violation of their COVID-19 misleading information policy. Also, in June Twitter launched a “101 Course on Getting Started with the Twitter API” for students and researchers who are carrying out academic research to better help them use the Twitter application programming interface (API) tool. The API allows researchers to gain real-time access to large volumes of data from Twitter.
- TikTok reports about its continued action of applying a COVID tag to 2011 videos, with a decreasing number of such tags through June in the EU (-26403). At the same time, as indicated above, the number of videos tagged with the COVID vaccine tag is increasing.
- Microsoft reports that in June 2021, the Bing COVID experience had 2405231 views in the EU, showing a 15% increase in views vis-à-vis the previous month (+363692). Also, Microsoft Advertising prevented 1583881 ads violating its ads policies (including on COVID-19 and vaccines) reaching users in the EU, a significant increase from April (+1233427) and a slight increase compared to March (+55955).
- Google reported taking action against 14895 URLs on AdSense in June, an increase compared to May (+2013) and April (+4346) , with the most remarkable increase in actions taken in France (+1065 compared to May and +2370 compared to April). At the same time, the numbers of ads and ad accounts rejected for violation of COVID advertising policies are in line with those reported in April and May.
- Facebook reports that during the month of June it removed over 76 thousand pieces of content in the EU on Facebook and Instagram, for violating their COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies, continuing a trend of significant increase from the previous month (+ 14000). The company furthermore reported on its cooperation with researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) to advance the capacity to detect and attribute deepfakes.
- Reports August 2020 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports September 2020 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports October 2020 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports November 2020 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports December 2020 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports January 2021 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports February 2021 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports April 2021 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports May 2021 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation
- Reports June 2021 – Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation