Google, Twitter, Meta, TikTok and more just signed the EU’s “anti-disinformation” code

Big Tech companies have signed a new version of the European Union’s “anti-disinformation” code. Some of the companies that signed include Google, Twitter, Meta, TikTok, and Twitch – but also smaller players such as Vimeo and Clubhouse.

There are 34 signatories in total:

Apple declined to sign.

The “code of practice on disinformation,” will require online platforms to show how they are tackling “harmful content.”

It will also require platforms to fight “harmful misinformation” by forming partnerships with fact-checkers and developing tools. They will be forced to include “indicators of trustworthiness” on information verified independently on hot-button issues like COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Perhaps the most notable requirement is providing their efforts to tackle harmful content and disinformation on a country-by-country basis. The move was opposed by online platforms, but national regulators demanded that they need more specific data to better address the spread of disinformation.

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Censor The Internet Act: EU Agrees to Expand Online Censorship With ‘Digital Services Act’

The European Union is working to massively expand online censorship, strictly regulate speech during times of “crisis” and restrict online anonymity through digital passports.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both lobbied for the EU to back the censorship bill known as the Digital Services Act on Thursday.

From France 24, “EU agrees on new legislation to tame internet ‘Wild West’ “:

The Digital Services Act (DSA) — the second part of a massive project to regulate tech companies — aims to ensure tougher consequences for platforms and websites that host a long list of banned content ranging from hate speech to disinformation and child sexual abuse images.

[…] Tech giants have been repeatedly called out for failing to police their platforms — a New Zealand terrorist attack that was live-streamed on Facebook in 2019 caused global outrage, and the chaotic insurrection in the US last year was promoted online.

The dark side of the internet also includes e-commerce platforms filled with counterfeit or defective products.

[…] The regulation will require platforms to swiftly remove illegal content as soon as they are aware of its existence. Social networks would have to suspend users who frequently breach the law.

The DSA will force e-commerce sites to verify the identity of suppliers before proposing their products.

[…] The European Commission will oversee yearly audits [of Big Tech firms] and be able to impose fines of up to six percent of their annual sales for repeated infringements.

Looking over the outline of the new agreement it’s striking how they seamlessly conflate child sexual abuse material with “illegal hate speech.”

Both are jumbled together as “illegal content.”

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New EU Law Would Allow Seizure Of Private Property During Pandemic Emergencies

The European Union is reportedly drafting legislation that would allow Brussels to take private property in the event of a pandemic emergency.

In an unpublished New Year message to his staff, the EU’s Intermarket Commissioner, Thierry Breton has laid out his plans for the creation of a “Single Market Emergency Instrument” which will include a “toolbox of measures” in order to guarantee the “security of supply during a crisis”.

The proposed measures are likely to be put forward during the spring and could include export controls and new powers that allow the EU to collect data from businesses on their production process, their stockpiles and supply chains for their products, POLITICO reports.

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In the wake of Austria’s drastic lockdown of unvaccinated people, EU chief calls for throwing out Nuremberg Code

Ursula Van Der Leyen, the head of the EU commission, told the press on Wednesday that she is in favour of scrapping the long-standing Nuremburg Code and forcing people to get vaccinated against COVID.

“Hey, it’s just the Nuremberg code. Only what we learned from the Nazi atrocities, not least those that were medical,” sarcastically notes esteemed professor, lecturer and podcaster Dr. Jordan Peterson.

In Austria, people over 12 who are not vaccinated are currently almost completely locked down, only allowed outside for absolutely essential tasks like food or medical appointments.

In an interview she gave to the BBC, the EU chief  said that it was “understandable and appropriate” to consider vaccine mandates, especially due to the new Omicron variant of COVID 19, which has been now detected in 12 different member nations of the EU.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union? This needs discussion. This needs a common approach, but it is a discussion that I think has to be led,” commented Van Der Leyen to the BBC.

The WHO, however, has strongly encouraged countries not to enact travel bans because of Omicron, and further iterated that early data points to the fact that most Omicron cases are not severe. Most of the world’s governments are not paying attention to the WHO’s guidelines on this occasion, however.

The Nuremberg Code was enacted in 1947, immediately after the Second World War to prevent many of the egregious human rights abuses enacted by the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese during the war.

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Humorless EU report: It’s not funny anymore. Far-right extremists’ use of humour

Humour has become a central weapon of extremist movements to subvert open societies and to lower the threshold towards violence. Especially within the context of a recent wave of far-right terrorist attacks, we witness “playful” ways in communicating racist ideologies. As far-right extremists strategically merge with online cultures, their approach changes fundamentally. This trend has been especially facilitated by the so-called alt-right and has spread globally. This predominantly online movement set new standards to
rebrand extremist positions in an ironic guise, blurring the lines between mischief and potentially radicalising messaging. The result is a nihilistic form of humour that is directed against ethnic and sexual minorities and deemed to inspire violent fantasies — and eventually action. This paper scrutinises how
humour functions as a potential factor in terms of influencing far-right extremist violence. In doing so, we trace the strategic dissemination of far-right narratives and discuss how extremists conceal their misanthropic messages in order to deny ill intention or purposeful harm. These recent developments pose major challenges for practitioners: As a new generation of violent extremists emerges from digital subcultures without a clear organisational centre, prevention strategies need to renew focus and cope with
the intangible nature of online cultures.

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