How effective is the Code of Practice on Disinformation? The first pilot measurement of its Structural Indicators is now available

Following the adoption of the Code of Practice on Disinformation in June 2022, the European Commission launched a plan to monitor whether the Code was effective for platforms and industries endorsing it. To achieve this, a pilot measurement of structural indicators was commissioned to assess the appropriateness of the measures adopted and to provide further insights for policy developments in this domain.

EDMO Policy Research and Analysis, coordinated by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, has played a significant role in the development of Structural Indicators by participating in all the relevant working groups of the Code of Practice Taskforce. This ‘Taskforce’ is a permanent component of the updated version of the Code, encompassing various entities responsible for regularly reviewing these indicators. The indicators are designed to monitor the implementation of specific policies, aid in achieving objectives, and observe changes in reducing the spread of online disinformation for each relevant signatory, at the Member State level, and throughout the entire online ecosystem in the EU.

EDMO’s initial proposal included six areas of measurement: prevalence, sources, audiences, demonetisation of disinformation, as well as the impact of and investment in fact-checking, and investment in the implementation of the Code. However, due to the constraints of time and resources, it was agreed to focus on two indicators: prevalence and sources, and three countries (Poland, Slovakia, Spain) for the first pilot study. The analysis, published by TrustLab, covers six platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter (X), and YouTube).

Even though the resulting pilot is the outcome of an independent implementation that utilises the methodology and metrics put forward by TrustLab, it was framed and inspired by the EDMO proposal for Structural Indicators. The EDMO proposal marked the initial step in what should be a broader and more systematic effort to monitor disinformation and assess the policy effectiveness of the Code. Given the complexity of the phenomenon, EDMO’s contribution also acknowledges the need to adjust Structural Indicators over time. In fact, Structural Indicators are planned to be measured and reported bi-annually, and for this purpose, EDMO has established a dedicated Expert Group, which comprises over 20 experts volunteering to improve the methodology for a better implementation of the indicators.