Statement from DIGI Managing Director Sunita Bose on the release of the ACMA’s discussion paper to guide the development of the disinformation code

Friday June 26, 2020: “DIGI has been engaging with the ACMA since December 2019 after the Government’s request that digital platforms develop a voluntary code of conduct for disinformation.

“In May, we announced to the ACMA and other stakeholders that we would be proactively developing an industry code, in partnership with the UTS Centre for Media Transition, to bring together the digital industry to combat the critical problem of disinformation.

“We welcome the release of the ACMA’s discussion paper today as collaboration between digital platforms, governments, civil society, academics and the community is essential, in the ongoing efforts to address the issue of disinformation.

“Over time, digital platforms have introduced a broad suite of policies and technical measures to counter disinformation and enable the public to make informed decisions; the code provides an opportunity to develop a common set of principles and commitments in relation to this work and to build on existing efforts.

“DIGI will be working to develop a code by the end of the year, in consultation with the ACMA, a range of digital companies, civil society, academics and with a period of public comment.”

In their work on the code, the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) The Centre for Media Transition will also draw on the experience of First Draft News – the Australian bureau of which was launched in 2019 – in tackling misinformation and disinformation internationally.

This work is being undertaken in response to Government policy as set out in Regulating in the Digital Age: Government Response and Implementation Roadmap for the Digital Platforms Inquiry, which was developed following the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry. The Roadmap states:
The Government will ask the major digital platforms to develop a voluntary code (or codes) of conduct for disinformation and news quality. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will have oversight of the codes and report to Government on the adequacy of platforms’ measures and the broader impacts of disinformation.

The codes will address concerns regarding disinformation and credibility signalling for news content and outline what the platforms will do to tackle disinformation on their services and support the ability of Australians to discern the quality of news and information. The codes will be informed by learnings of international examples, such as the European Union Code of Practice on Disinformation. The Government will assess the success of the codes and consider the need for any further reform in 2021.

About DIGI
DIGI is a non-profit industry association that advocates for the interests of the digital industry in Australia, with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Verizon Media as its founding members. DIGI also has an associate membership program and our other members include Redbubble, eBay and GoFundMe. DIGI’s vision is a thriving Australian digitally-enabled economy that fosters innovation, a growing selection of digital products and services, and where online safety and privacy are protected.