The Digital Industry Group (DIGI) launched a review of Australia’s voluntary misinformation code a year after it was introduced, and released its first annual report on the operation of the code.
DIGI MD Sunita Bose said in the report the organisation is inviting views from the public, civil society and government on how the code can be improved, adding: “Sustained shifts in the fight against mis- and disinformation must rely on a widespread and multi-stakeholder approach.”
In a statement, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) welcomed the review and called for “a robust measurement framework to track platform and industry performance” over time.
ACMA encouraged DIGI to consider its findings and consult with a wide variety of stakeholders to develop the next version of the code.
In June 2021, the agency proposed in its first oversight report a number of changes to the code and reporting requirements, included moving from opt-in to opt-out provisions.
A 32-page discussion paper released seeking views of specific questions to be addressed in the review rejected those changes.
Submissions for potential changes to DIGI’s code are open until 18 July.
Earlier in the year, the group committed to reviewing the code as well as introducing guidelines to improve the next set of annual transparency reports. It recently appointed an independent reviewer to fact check all signatories’ transparency reports prior to publication.
The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation was introduced in February 2021 after being prepared by Digi. The code was adopted by major tech companies such as Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter.
At the end of 2019, the Australian Government requested major digital platforms develop a voluntary code of practice to address online disinformation and news quality concerns.