Meta second to set up EU online election centre to fight disinformation

The online platform will add fact-checking organisations in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia to its network ahead of the EU elections.


US tech giant Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is to set up an EU-specific ‘operations centre’ to combat misinformation around the European Parliament elections in June, the company has announced weeks after its Chinese rival TikTok made a similar move.

Under the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), online platforms with more than 45 million monthly average users, including Facebook and TikTok, are obliged to take measures against disinformation and election manipulation.

Meta’s centre will bring together in-house experts to identify potential threats and put specific mitigations in place across apps and technologies in real time, a statement by Marco Pancini head of EU Affairs at the company said. 

Besides removing illegal content, Meta will also expand its current network of 26 independent fact-checking organisations covering 22 languages with three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia. It will be made easier for the fact-checking partners to find and rate content related to the elections by using keyword detection to group related content in one place, the statement said.

Meta will also introduce features for users to disclose when they share AI-generated content, in case it’s not classified as disinformation.

“Advertisers who run ads related to social issues, elections or politics with Meta also have to disclose if they use a photorealistic image or video, or realistic sounding audio, that has been created or altered digitally, including with AI, in certain cases,” the statement said.

Between July and December 2023, the company said it removed 430,000 ads across the EU for failing to carry a disclaimer.


TikTok said earlier this month (14 February) that it will set up what it calls in-app election centres for each of the 27 EU countries in a bid to reduce the spread of online misinformation as the bloc goes to the polls in June.

The tool will be available as of next month to ensure people can “separate fact from fiction”, the company said in a statement.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has previously set up similar systems for national elections in Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Spain, starting in 2021.

The European Commission last week (19 February) opened an investigation into TikTok under the DSA to check whether its age verification tools to prevent access by minors to inappropriate content, are reasonable, proportionate and effective. It will also check if the advertisement repository is searchable and reliable as required under the DSA.

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2024-02-26 08:18:37

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