Google, Facebook, Twitter may face EU fines if deepfakes not tackled

According to an amended European Union code of practice that media outlets have access to, Alphabet Inc unit Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), and other digital companies will have to take action to combat deepfakes and fake accounts on their platforms or face paying significant fines.

As part of its campaign against false news, the European Commission is anticipated to release the amended code of practice on misinformation on Thursday.

The voluntary code, which was introduced in 2018, will now be a co-regulation program, with accountability shared between the regulators and code signatories.

The revised agreement outlines instances of deceptive behavior that the signatories must address, including deepfakes and fake accounts.

According to the documents, “Relevant signatories will adopt, reinforce, and implement clear policies regarding impermissible manipulative behaviors and practices on their services, based on the most recent evidence regarding the conducts and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by malicious actors.”

Deepfakes are computer-generated, hyperrealistic forgeries that have alarmed people all around the world, especially when they are employed in a political setting.

The Digital Services Act (DSA), a stringent new EU regulation with a provision on countering disinformation, was approved by the 27-nation European Union earlier this year and will be connected to the code.

According to DSA regulations, firms who don’t uphold their commitments under the code may be subject to fines of up to 6% of their global sales. Once they have agreed to the code, they have six months to put their plans into action.

The signatories will also need to take action against misinformation-containing advertising and increase the transparency of political advertising.

EU industry head Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the EU’s campaign against misinformation, told the media in a statement: “The DSA offers a legal backbone to the Code of Practice against disinformation – with strong dissuasive consequences.”

Vera Jourova, vice president of the commission, stated that part of the revisions to the law were motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the former refers to as a special operation.

In a statement, she stated, “Once the Code is active, we will be better equipped to fight disinformation, especially originating from Russia.”

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