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Big Tech not doing enough to remove fake news, activist NGO Avaaz says

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo from files of Facebook Google and Twitter logos

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Twitter, Google's YouTube, Meta Platform's Facebook, Microsoft's LinkedIn and TikTok are not doing enough to remove fake news from their platforms, raising doubts about their ability to comply with new EU online content rules, activist NGO Avaaz said on Tuesday.

The companies are due to present reports this week on the measures they have taken to comply with the updated EU code of practice on disinformation which is linked to the online content rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) that came into force last November.

Avaaz said it analysed a sample pool of 108 fact-checked pieces of content related to a 2022 American anti-vaccine film and found efforts by the social media platforms including Meta's Instagram to remove disinformation fell short.

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"Overall, just 22% of disinformation content we analysed was either labelled or removed by the six major platforms," Avaaz said.

It said the companies did not do enough to tackle disinformation in languages other than English.

"Despite explicit platform commitments in the code to improve their services in all EU languages, our research found that in certain EU languages - Italian, German, Hungarian, Danish, Spanish and Estonian - no platform took any action against violating posts," Avaaz said.

"This study suggests that most of the major platforms are failing to comply with their Code of Practice commitments and might infringe upcoming DSA obligations," the group said.

Meta, Alphabet, Twitter and Microsoft last year vowed to take a tougher line against disinformation after committing to the updated EU code.

Companies face fines up to 6% of their global turnover for DSA violations.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)