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Big tech must have special teams to fight election disinformation

Big tech companies must have internal teams to fight disinformation in connection with the election to the European Parliament in June, the EU Commission says in guidelines for big tech companies that must live up to rules in the EU’s Digital Services Act. A new US survey shows that no more than 2 % of Americans really trust OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT’s  information about the 2024 US presidential elections.

Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), online services with more than 45 million active users in the EU must mitigate the risks related to elections while safeguarding fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

The Commission’s guidelines says big tech must:

  • Set up internal teams with adequate resources to limit the risks with disinformation.
  • Implement elections-specific risk mitigation measures tailored to each individual electoral period and local context. Among the mitigation measures included in the guidelines, the companies should promote official information on electoral processes, implement media literacy initiatives, and adapt their recommender systems to empower users and reduce the monetisation and virality of content that threatens the integrity of electoral processes.
  • Political advertising should be clearly labelled as such, with is mentioned in the new regulation for political advertising.
  • Companies whose services could be used to create and/or disseminate generative AI content, should assess and mitigate specific risks linked to AI, for example by clearly labelling content generated by AI (such as deepfakes), adapting their terms and conditions accordingly and enforcing them adequately.   
  • Companies should cooperate with EU level and national authorities, independent experts, and civil society organisations to foster an efficient exchange of information before, during and after the election and facilitate the use of adequate mitigation measures, including in the areas of Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI), disinformation and cybersecurity.
  • Companies should adopt specific measures, including an incident response mechanism, during an electoral period to reduce the impact of incidents that could have a significant effect on the election outcome or turnout.
  • Companies should assess the effectiveness of the measures through post-election reviews. Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines should publish a non-confidential version of such post-election review documents, providing opportunity for public feedback on the risk mitigation measures put in place.
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The Commission emphasizes that if big tech companies don’t have suitable measures in place to fight disinformation, the Commission can request further information or start formal proceedings under the Digital Services Act.  

US-based Pew Research Centre’s survey shows that about four-in-ten Americans (38%) don’t trust the information that comes from ChatGPT about the 2024 US presidential election – that is, they say they have not too much trust (18%) or no trust at all (20%).

A mere 2% have a great deal or quite a bit of trust, while 10% have some trust. Another 15% aren’t sure, while 34% have not heard of ChatGPT.

“Distrust far outweighs trust regardless of political party. About four-in-ten Republicans and Democrats alike (including those who lean toward each party) have not too much or no trust at all in ChatGPT’s election information.”

“Notably, however, very few Americans have actually used the chatbot to find information about the presidential election: Just 2% of adults say they have done so, including 2% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 1% of Republicans and GOP leaners.”

The Pew notes that several tech companies have recently pledged to prevent the misuse of artificial intelligence – including chatbots – in this year’s election. 

“But recent reports suggest chatbots themselves may provide misleading answers to election-related questions”, the Pew says.

Read Also:  Disinformation classified as severe global risk over next two years

 

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