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Brussels to Investigate Meta Platforms’ Handling of Disinformation on Facebook and Instagram

 |  April 29, 2024

Brussels is gearing up to launch an investigation into Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, amid growing concerns over its ability to effectively combat disinformation originating from Russia and other nations. According to a report by the Financial Times, the probe is expected to commence as early as Monday.

The European Commission, which oversees regulatory matters in the European Union, is reportedly troubled by Meta’s alleged failure to adequately address the proliferation of misleading content on its platforms. There are suspicions that the company’s moderation efforts are failing to curb the dissemination of political advertising that poses a significant risk to the integrity of electoral processes.

Sources familiar with the matter, cited by the Financial Times, suggest that regulators are particularly concerned about the forthcoming elections in numerous countries, including Britain, Austria, Georgia, and the European Parliament elections slated for June. The fear is that unchecked disinformation campaigns could undermine the democratic process and sway public opinion.

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While the investigation is not expected to explicitly target Russia, the European Commission intends to address the broader issue of foreign actors manipulating information to influence political outcomes. This stance reflects the ongoing global concern surrounding the impact of disinformation campaigns on democratic institutions and societal stability.

In response to the impending probe, Meta Platforms issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to addressing risks on its platforms. A spokesperson for Meta expressed readiness to cooperate with the European Commission and provide additional details regarding the company’s efforts to mitigate disinformation.

The investigation comes at a critical juncture as governments and regulatory bodies worldwide grapple with the challenge of safeguarding online spaces from manipulation and abuse. With the rise of social media as a primary source of news and information dissemination, ensuring transparency and accountability in content moderation processes has become increasingly paramount.

Source: FT