Code of Practice on Disinformation

A Comparative Analysis of the Prevalence and Sources of Disinformation across Major Social Media Platforms in Poland, Slovakia, and Spain

TrustLab Report

In September of 2023, TrustLab released a first-of-its kind study that measures the prevalence and sources of misinformation across major social platforms.

TrustLab Code of Practice on Disinformation report cover
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The measurement study was commissioned as part of the European Commission’s Code of Practice, the world's first self-regulatory instrument to fight disinformation.  Findings indicate that Twitter has the highest ratio of discoverability and engagement of misinformation, while YouTube has the lowest.​

“The European Union’s Code of Practice on Disinformation is a milestone in the global fight against online disinformation,” said Tom Siegel, CEO and co-founder of TrustLab. “Measuring online disinformation is a challenge because it is often ambiguous and fast-changing. TrustLab was selected to measure due to our track-record as an independent, unbiased technology solution. This pioneering study now serves as an important benchmark for the future, and is only possible because of the leadership of the EC and the courage of the participating platforms.” ​​

The 71-page study provides a benchmark for policy evaluation and for the monitoring of disinformation over time. The test included prevalence and sources of disinformation across six major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube) in three countries: Poland, Slovakia, and Spain. 

TrustLab was selected by the European Commission to independently develop measurement methodology and conduct post-measurement analysis.

Specific findings include:

​Prevalence of Disinformation

  • Twitter has the highest discoverability of disinformation, while YouTube has the lowest.
  • Mis/disinformation content acquired more engagement than non-mis/disinformation content on Twitter. The opposite is true on TikTok. 
  • A large relative engagement ratio on some platforms like Twitter may be a result of moderate absolute engagement (and vice versa on TikTok). ​

Sources of Disinformation

  • Twitter has the largest ratio of disinformation actors, while YouTube has the smallest. 
  • Disinformation actors tend to follow more users, but have fewer followers compared to non-disinformation actors. Disinformation actors are also more likely to have joined the platforms more recently. 
Graph: Disinformation DiscoverabilityGraph: Absolute Post Engagement
Graph: Share of Disinformation ActorsGraph: Relative Post Engagement

The Code of Practice report is freely available to read and download below, as well as via the European Commission's Transparency Center.

Learn more about the Code of Practice on Disinformation here.

For more info on this report and other TrustLab reports, please get in touch with us.

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