By Max Bernhard 
 

Facebook Inc (FB) and other online platforms have improved their response to fake accounts and propaganda but there is still work to be done, the European Union said Tuesday after publishing companies' progress reports on tackling disinformation.

Among the companies that signed on to the bloc's self-regulatory Code of Practice on Disinformation are Facebook, Alphabet Inc's (GOOG) Google, Microsoft (MSFT), Mozilla and Twitter(TWTR), as well as seven trade associations.

"Large-scale automated propaganda and disinformation persist and there is more work to be done under all areas of the code. We cannot accept this as a new normal," EU officials said in a statement.

The comments come as Facebook faces scrutiny from employees and the public about its decision to exempt political candidates' ads from its own fact-checking program. The company has also seen public backlash over its handling of disinformation and propaganda on the social media platform during and leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

While they praised the companies' commitments to more transparency and closer cooperation with researchers, fact-checkers and governments, the EU said that the companies' self-assessments provided little insight on the actual impact of their measures to counter disinformation campaigns.

The EU said "further serious steps by individual signatories and the community as a whole are still necessary."

According to the EU, Facebook said in its self-assessment that it disabled more than 2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter.

Online platforms and fact-checkers can help reduce harmful virality, the EU said but the platforms still need to cooperate more with a wider range of "trusted and independent" organizations.

 

News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, has a commercial agreement to supply news through Facebook.

Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has a commercial agreement to supply video content through Twitter.

 

Write to Max Bernhard at max.bernhard@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 29, 2019 14:58 ET (18:58 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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