ABOUT THE CODE

On February 22 2021, DIGI launched a new code of practice that commits a diverse set of technology companies to reducing the risk of online misinformation causing harm to Australians.

The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation has been adopted by Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Redbubble, TikTok and Twitter.

All signatories commit to safeguards to protect Australians against harm from online disinformation and misinformation, and to adopting a range of scalable measures that reduce its spread and visibility.

Participating companies also commit to releasing an annual transparency report about their efforts under the code, which will help improve understanding of online misinformation and disinformation in Australia over time. The first set of transparency reports were published on May 22, 2021 and are available to read here.

DIGI developed this code with assistance from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition and First Draft, a global organisation that specialises in helping societies overcome false and misleading information. The final code has been informed by a robust public consultation process.

The Code was developed in response to the Australian Government policy announced in December 2019, where the digital industry was asked to develop a voluntary code of practice on disinformation, drawing learnings from a similar code in the European Union.

 

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VIEW GOVERNANCE

DOWNLOAD THE CODE

Download The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, developed by DIGI for the digital industry

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Disinformation Code PDF

SIGNATORIES

The Australian Code of Practice on Misinformation and Disinformation has been signed by eight major technology companies. The code is open to any company in the digital industry as a blueprint for best practice for how to combat mis and disinformation online. If you are interested in adopting the code, please contact us at hello@digi.org.au

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Adobe

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Apple

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Facebook

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Google

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Microsoft

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Redbubble

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TikTok

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Twitter

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

DIGI undertook the development of the code in an open and consultative way. We developed the code with assistance from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition, and First Draft, a global organisation that specialises in helping societies overcome false and misleading information. We also undertook a public consultation process to ensure the code reflected community expectations.

Discussion paper

This paper provides background research relevant to the development of a voluntary code of practice. It explores mis- and disinformation in Australia, and industry and regulatory approaches to these challenges. 

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Submission report

DIGI closely reviewed all submissions, and made a number of changes to the draft code that are reflected in the final code. DIGI has produced a report that summarises the input we received, and how it has been addressed.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation?

We think misinformation is best understood as false or misleading information disseminated online which can, but may not be intended to, cause harm. For example, individuals can share harmful false information on social media that they genuinely believe to be true. Disinformation is false or misleading information that can cause harm and is disseminated online by spam or other kinds of manipulative aggressive bulk behaviors. For example, disinformation can be spread by malicious actors with the aim of causing deliberate damage to democratic political processes, such as elections, or to undermine public health initiatives or harm marginalised or vulnerable groups.

What kinds of commitments are signatories making under the code?

Every company that signs this code is agreeing to safeguards to protect Australians from harmful dis and misinformation online. That includes publishing and implementing policies on their approach, providing a way for their users to report content that may violate those policies and implementing a range of scalable measures that reduce its spread and visibility online. The specific measures will vary depending on the type of digital service the signatory provides, but could include content labelling and removal, restricting inauthentic accounts and behaviours, partnerships with fact-checking organisations, and technology to help people to check the authenticity of digital content.

Why is this a voluntary code, not mandatory?

The Code was developed in response to the Australian Government policy announced in December 2019, where the digital industry was asked to develop a voluntary code of practice on disinformation. Voluntary codes of practice are broadly used in a range of industries, including the media and advertising. A self-regulatory approach means the code can evolve to address advances in threats and technology faster than legislation, which is important because perpetrators of disinformation are constantly updating their tactics to evade the responses of technology companies. This code requires constant, proactive efforts by signatories to meet their commitments.

MORE INFO

To lodge a complaint under the code, please use the complaint form here. DIGI only accepts complaints from the Australian public where they believe a signatory has materially breached the code’s commitments. DIGI cannot accept complaints about individual items of content on signatories’ products or services, and ask that these be directed to the signatory via their reporting mechanisms or otherwise.  

The code is open to any company in the digital industry as a blueprint for best practice for how to combat mis and disinformation online. If you are interested in adopting the code, please contact us at hello@digi.org.au.