Since its launch, the CMPF has been involved in the work of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) and has been leading the policy task inside EDMO, whose activities included:
- the assessment of the reporting of the Code of Practice on Disinformation’s signatories;
- mapping of national and EU-level policies to tackle disinformation, reporting on relevant trends in anti-disinformation policymaking and research;
- extensive work on the development of structural indicators to accompany the Code of Practice on Disinformation.
Current activities are related to, on the one hand, independent academic monitoring and assessment of the national, EU, and industry policies against disinformation, as well as cooperation, knowledge exchange amongst stakeholders, and on the other hand, expert support to the 2022 Code of Practice on disinformation permanent Task-force in relation to structural indicators. As part of this effort, the CMPF has produced reports that cover the definitions and policy challenges of “trustworthiness”, “issue-based advertising”, and look at the relevant case law related to disinformation.
In addition, EDMO has worked on a study on platforms’ reporting (“Assessing the Signatories’ Covid-19 Reports” available at https://edmo.eu/reports/) to assess whether signatories successfully applied the measures recommended by the Code, looking at the reports that were made available by signatories. The analysis of 57 so-called “Covid-19 Reports” from Facebook (11), Google (11), Microsoft (11), Mozilla (2), TikTok (11) and Twitter (11), produced between August 2020 and June 2021 as part of the “Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation Monitoring Programme”, revealed shortcomings in the processes of self-regulation, as well as transparency problems in the reporting system itself, showing that regulation, standardisation and transparency need to be understood in our new communications order with an approach that is both new and different. The analysis concludes with 14 recommendations. The analysis was discussed in bilateral meetings with the EDMO Advisory and Executive Board and ERGA.
As part of this work, EDMO has also published a report about disinformation policies and legal developments in EU member states. Building in part on the data provided by the Media Pluralism Monitor (a project by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, leader of Task V), the first report provided a European overview, and zoomed in on seven of European countries: France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. The assessment was published in December 2021. A second report is focusing on Bulgaria, France, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and candidate countries in the Balkans.
The Policy Research and Analysis task of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), coordinated by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom at the European University Institute, was asked by the European Commission to work on a set of structural indicators, within the framework of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. These indicators should serve the evaluation of various dimensions of disinformation in a more comprehensive, objective, and longitudinal way, as well as the overall role of the Code in suppressing it (the Code’s implementation).
Structural Indicators are a specific commitment (41) under the 2022 Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation. To achieve this Commitment, signatories established a Working Group in June 2022; and in early September, after a thorough literature review and expert consultations, EDMO tabled a first proposal for Structural Indicators to initiate discussions within the Group.
EDMO’s initial proposal included six areas of measurement: prevalence, sources, audiences, demonetization of disinformation, platform-signatories’ investments in fact-checking organisations and the effectiveness of fact-checking, and investment in the implementation of the Code. All these indicators were to be measured for each member state and for the EU as a whole. The EDMO proposal strived to be comprehensive, in order to reflect the fact that disinformation is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon. It also envisioned access to platform data as a key precondition for effective monitoring of disinformation in that environment.
EDMO continues to support the process towards comprehensive and complete Structural Indicators whose measurement involves all EU member states and their languages. To this end, in the spring of 2023, an EDMO Expert Group on Structural Indicators was established.