Tech giants fall short on fake news policing code

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A draft voluntary code to tackle disinformation from tech giants' group DIGI "fails to meet expectations", according to reports.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the code was created in response to an Australian government request to help manage the spread of misinformation on sites such as Google and Facebook, but "does not provide any detail" on how they specifically intend to combat the issue.

Chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Nerida O'Loughlin said the draft code released by DIGI for public consultation was "a long way from the model that we proposed to address these important issues".

The tech giants were asked to propose a model under which they would address concerns based on the risk of harm to a user and how they would report back. The proposed code suggests it might flag or demote content and stop receiving revenue on ads based on disinformation. It defines disinformation as 'inauthentic behaviour' for economic gain or that is designed to mislead and may cause harm. It does not include misleading ads, satire or clearly identified news and commentary.

Companies would be able to opt in or opt out of the code as they wished.

The Herald says a separate report published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last week found Australians were being 'extensively tracked' online, with Google and Facebook the key recipients of the data.

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