Home » Brussels warns social media platforms ahead of EU elections – DutchNews.nl

Brussels warns social media platforms ahead of EU elections – DutchNews.nl

Social media platforms will face penalties, including legal action, if they do not take steps against disinformation in preparation for the European parliament elections in June, and other elections in Europe this year.

The European Commission has published guidelines asking social media to “mitigate systemic risks online that may impact the integrity of elections”. The Netherlands will elect its 31 MEPs on June 6.

The commission wants firms such as Facebook to set up specific internal teams dealing with content moderation, fact-checking, threat disruption, cybersecurity and freedom of expression, staffed with people with specific knowledge of the country and the related language.

Last November it emerged that social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has just one person in its moderation team who speaks Dutch with “professional proficiency”.

The commission has also called on social media platforms to promote official information on electoral processes, including on how and where to vote, to improve turnout and prevent the spread of misinformation.

Accounts controlled by member states, third countries and entities controlled or financed by third countries, should be labelled in a clear and visible way, the commission said. The criteria used for an “official” label should be made available to avoid giving credibility to fake accounts.

Social media companies should also ensure that advertising does not provide financial incentives for the dissemination of disinformation as well as hateful, extremist or radicalising content. Content generated by AI should also be clearly labelled or marked prominently so that users can identify deepfakes.

In line with recently adopted measures, political advertising should be clearly labelled.

The recommendations were issued under the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), a law targeting online services with more than 45 million active users in the EU and especially designed to mitigate the risks related to elections.

“Europe is the first continent with a law to address systemic risks on online platforms that can have real-world negative effects on our democratic societies,” said internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton.

Social media companies that do not comply will have to prove that “the measures undertaken are equally effective in mitigating the risks” or the commission will be able to launch legal proceedings against them.