In 2018, the Code of Practice on Disinformation marked the first time that the online industry had agreed, on a voluntary basis, to self-regulatory standards to fight disinformation. The Code aims to secure a wide range of commitments, from transparency in political advertising to the closure of fake accounts and demonetization of disinformation spreaders. The Code of Practice will be developed into a co-regulatory instrument as outlined in the Digital Services Act.
The signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation, as well as representatives of the European Commission, an Honest Broker Team, and a supporting agency, are working to revise the Code to further mitigate the risks of disinformation online. The revised Code will take into account the 2021 European Commission Guidelines and will serve as a co-regulatory framework with the upcoming Digital Services Act. On February 1, the parties revising the Code met for the first time with civil society organisations and other third-party stakeholders to discuss draft sections.
However, the consultation process seems to be inadequate and leaves no space for meaningful inputs on human right concerns such as free speech, free and fair elections or access to information. This is why a group of NGOs has decided to send the letter (see below) to express their disappointment about the consultation process, and call for the real and meaningful involvement of civil society organisations.