Twitter lacks transparency in misinformation fight -French regulator

(Reuters) – Twitter has shown a lack of transparency in the fight against misinformation, France’s regulator in charge of digital communications Arcom said on Monday, as the social media platform faced heightened scrutiny following steep job cuts.

In a third yearly report on “the fight against the manipulation of information,” Arcom pointed to Twitter’s “very loose transparency regarding data” on the matter, adding that the company had provided “imprecise” details on how its automated tools worked.

A spokesperson for Twitter in France did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. The spokesperson has not responded to queries since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter last month.

Arcom has no power to sanction online platforms for the spread of false information.

But under a French law adopted in 2018, 12 of these platforms must disclose the processes they have put in place to handle their own definition of misinformation, leading to “naming and shaming” presentations by the authority.

The 12 online platforms include Alphabet’s YouTube, online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, Meta’s Facebook and — for the first time — the fast-growing short-video platform TikTok, owned by China-based firm ByteDance.

French laws also compel large online platforms to provide means to its users to report false information that could alter the potential outcome of an election.

Twitter wasn’t the worst in class, according to Arcom’s report.

“TikTok, Yahoo and, to a lesser extent, Google, stand out particularly by the absence of tangible information allowing Arcom” to analyse the effectiveness of measures aimed at fighting information manipulation, the authority said.

The report comes a week after Twitter France’s head announced his resignation.

Twitter, earlier in November and following Musk’s takeover, laid off half its workforce, including from teams responsible for communications, content curation, human rights and machine learning ethics, as well as some product and engineering teams.

In its filings to Arcom prior to Musk’s acquisition, Twitter said it had 34 permanent employees in France, where it had generated 11.8 million euros in revenue in 2021.

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