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EU Commission launches probe into Meta on disinformation concerns

April 30, 2024 at 6:25 pm

In this photo illustration, Meta logo is being displayed on a mobile phone screen in front of computer screen with the logo of Meta in Ankara, Turkiye on December 07, 2023 [Ahmet Serdar Eser – Anadolu Agency]

The European Commission initiated formal proceedings, Tuesday, to investigate Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, on concerns about disinformation as EU Parliament elections near, Anadolu Agency reports.

The investigation stems from suspicions regarding Meta’s policies and practices related to deceptive advertising, political content and the availability of effective tools for real-time civic discourse and election monitoring.

“Big digital platforms must live up to their obligations to put enough resources into this and today’s decision shows that we are serious about compliance. Protecting our democracies is a common fight with our Member States,” said Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.

The Commission is examining Meta’s mechanisms for flagging illegal content and handling user complaints. It suspects it may not align with the requirements outlined in the Digital Services Act (DSA) — a law on illegal content, transparent advertisement and disinformation.

“Important that we can #trust what we see #online. Today, we have opened proceedings against @meta as we suspect that their online moderation on @facebok and @instagram is insufficient. It lacks transparency of #ads and content moderation,” Commission Vice President, Margrethe Vestager, wrote on X.

The Commission expressed concern that Meta’s oversight of advertisements may be “insufficient”.

It also indicated that a surge in paid advertisements might pose a threat to “electoral processes and fundamental rights, including consumer protection”.

Meta has been subject to the provisions of the DSA since its designation in April 2023.

The Act applies to all online intermediaries in the EU since 17 February, underscoring the EU’s commitment to ensuring a safe and transparent online environment for its citizens, it said.

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