European Commission calls on social media to step up the fight against vaccine disinformation
Monday, 22 February 2021
Commission Vice-President Vera Jourová met on Monday the representatives of Facebook, Google, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube about the urgency of addressing coronavirus vaccines disinformation.
Online platforms that signed the Code of Practice on Disinformation have committed to dedicated reporting. “Despite the efforts, the numbers and examples of disinformation continue to shock,” the Vice-President for Values and Transparency said.
“Vaccine diplomacy is accompanied by propaganda waves by foreign actors. The online platforms play a huge role in our public debate and need to take substantial steps to prevent harmful and dangerous disinformation, both domestic and foreign, from undermining our common fight against the virus, especially when it comes to vaccination.
“We are living in a global health emergency and information can save lives,” she added. “We can only succeed by joining forces. We agreed that cooperation needs to be strengthened between public authorities and online platforms in order to identify disinformation in a better way and promote health announcements from the authorities.”
The issue will be further discussed with Member States on Tuesday at the General Affairs Council where the fight against disinformation is on the agenda.
Following the 10 June 2020 Joint Communication on tackling Covid-19 disinformation, the monthly reporting programme was created to ensure accountability towards the public of the efforts made by platforms and relevant industry associations. The next batch of reports will be published later this week.
Fake news and disinformation, often fuelled by conspiracy theories, result in vaccine hesitancy and may jeopardize the effort to vaccinate enough people to achieve group immunity.