Online platforms to receive election guidelines ahead of June vote


Online platforms are invited to give feedback to draft guidelines under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) on the integrity of elections, the European Commission said today (8 February).

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These will be the first guidelines issued under the DSA to offer companies with best practices and possible measures to mitigate systemic risks on their platforms ahead of the European Parliament elections in June.

The public consultation is open for feedback until 7 March.

The draft guidelines provide examples of potential mitigation measures relating to election-related risks, Generative AI content, and specific guidance for the European Parliament elections.

“With the Digital Services Act, we have concrete tools to work together with online platforms. We can address the emerging online risks to electoral processes, like deep fakes. So we can enable people, in a safe way, to engage, discuss and make up their minds without illegal interference,” Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said in an accompanying statement.

EU Internal Market commissioner Thierry Breton said in a debate with lawmakers in the European Parliament yesterday that platforms have to respect obligations to fight misinformation under the DSA. 

He warned of “geopolitical instability” and “manipulation of citizens” ahead of the June vote. “We have to be on our guard; the electoral period is going to be targeted by foreign interference of all kinds,” Breton said.

As a possible remedy against misinformation online, Breton said that platforms should also clearly mark deepfakes and any content that has been manipulated artificially.

Companies designated as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP), those platforms that have more than 45 million monthly average users in the EU, must abide by strict rules under the DSA. This includes transparency requirements and the protection of minors online. The DSA will apply to all platforms as of 17 February.

In December, the commission started an investigation under the DSA into social media platform X to find out whether it has breached EU rules “in areas linked to risk management, content moderation, dark patterns, advertising transparency and data access for researchers.” 

This came after a request for information was sent by the commission in October after it received indications the platform was spreading illegal content and disinformation, particularly terrorist and violent content in the context of the Israel-Hamas war.



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2024-02-08 13:30:57

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