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EXCLUSIVE Google, Facebook, Twitter will have to tackle deepfakes or risk EU fines – sources

BRUSSELS, June 13 (Reuters) – Alphabet Unit Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook, Twitter (TWTR.N) and other tech companies will have to take action to counter deepfakes and fake accounts on their platforms or risk heavy fines under an updated EU code of practice, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The European Commission will publish the updated code of practice on disinformation on Thursday as part of its crackdown on fake news, the people said.

Introduced in 2018, the voluntary code will now become a co-regulatory system, with shared responsibility between regulators and code signatories.

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The updated code will spell out more examples of manipulative behavior such as deepfakes and fake accounts for signers to tackle, the people said.

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic forgeries created by computer techniques that have raised alarms around the world, especially when used in a political context.

The code will also be tied to tough new EU rules known as the Digital Services Act passed by the 27-nation European Union earlier this year, which includes a section on combating misinformation.

In effect, it means companies that fail to meet their obligations under the code can face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue, the people said.

“From Brexit to the Russian war on Ukraine, over the past few years, well-known social networks have allowed disinformation and destabilization strategies to spread unchecked – even make money from it. Disinformation cannot remain a source of revenue,” European industry chief Thierry Breton, who leads the EU’s crackdown on disinformation, told Reuters in a statement.

“The best antidote is to cut its funding in a clear way. Platforms should no longer receive a single euro due to the spread of misinformation. Demonetization is a cornerstone of the code of practice against misinformation,” he said.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey and Susan Fenton

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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