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Meta Reveals Strategy for the 2024 EU Parliament Elections



As the 2024 EU Parliament elections approach, the role of digital platforms in influencing and safeguarding the democratic process has never been more prominent. Amidst this backdrop, Meta, the company behind major social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, has outlined a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring the integrity of these elections.

Marco Pancini, Meta's Head of EU Affairs, has detailed these strategies in a company blog, reflecting the company's recognition of its influence and responsibilities in the digital political landscape.

Establishing an Elections Operations Center

In preparation for the EU elections, Meta has announced the establishment of a specialized Elections Operations Center. This initiative is designed to monitor and respond to potential threats that could impact the integrity of the electoral process on its platforms. The center aims to be a hub of expertise, combining the skills of professionals from various departments within Meta, including intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy, and legal teams.

The purpose of the Elections Operations Center is to identify potential threats and implement mitigations in real time. By bringing together experts from diverse fields, Meta aims to create a comprehensive response mechanism to safeguard against election interference. The approach taken by the Operations Center is based on lessons learned from previous elections and is tailored to the specific challenges of the EU political environment.

Fact-Checking Network Expansion

As part of its strategy to combat misinformation, Meta is also expanding its fact-checking network within Europe. This expansion includes the addition of three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia, enhancing the network's linguistic and cultural diversity. The fact-checking network plays a crucial role in reviewing and rating content on Meta's platforms, providing an additional layer of scrutiny to the information disseminated to users.

The operation of this network involves independent organizations that assess the accuracy of content and apply warning labels to debunked information. This process is designed to reduce the spread of misinformation by limiting its visibility and reach. Meta's expansion of the fact-checking network is an effort to bolster these safeguards, particularly in the context of the highly charged political environment of an election.

Long-Term Investment in Safety and Security

Since 2016, Meta has consistently increased its investment in safety and security, with expenditures surpassing $20 billion. This financial commitment underscores the company’s ongoing effort to enhance the security and integrity of its platforms. The significance of this investment lies in its scope and scale, reflecting Meta’s response to the evolving challenges in the digital landscape.

Accompanying this financial investment is the substantial growth of Meta’s global team dedicated to safety and security. This team has expanded fourfold, now comprising approximately 40,000 personnel. Among these, 15,000 are content reviewers who play a critical role in overseeing the vast array of content across Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. These reviewers are equipped to handle content in more than 70 languages, encompassing all 24 official EU languages. This linguistic diversity is crucial for effectively moderating content in a region as culturally and linguistically varied as the European Union.

This long-term investment and team expansion are integral components of Meta’s strategy to safeguard its platforms. By allocating significant resources and personnel, Meta aims to address the challenges posed by misinformation, influence operations, and other forms of content that could potentially undermine the integrity of the electoral process. The effectiveness of these investments and efforts is a subject of public and academic scrutiny, but the scale of Meta’s commitment in this area is evident.

Countering Influence Operations and Inauthentic Behavior

Meta's strategy to safeguard the integrity of the EU Parliament elections extends to actively countering influence operations and coordinated inauthentic behavior. These operations, often characterized by strategic attempts to manipulate public discourse, represent a significant challenge in maintaining the authenticity of online interactions and information.

To combat these sophisticated tactics, Meta has developed specialized teams whose focus is to identify and disrupt coordinated inauthentic behavior. This involves scrutinizing the platform for patterns of activity that suggest deliberate efforts to deceive or mislead users. These teams are responsible for uncovering and dismantling networks engaged in such deceptive practices. Since 2017, Meta has reported the investigation and removal of over 200 such networks, a process openly shared with the public through their Quarterly Threat Reports.

In addition to tackling covert operations, Meta also addresses more overt forms of influence, such as content from state-controlled media entities. Recognizing the potential for government-backed media to carry biases that could influence public opinion, Meta has implemented a policy of labeling content from these sources. This labeling aims to provide users with context about the origin of the information they are consuming, enabling them to make more informed judgments about its credibility.

These initiatives form a critical part of Meta's broader strategy to preserve the integrity of the information ecosystem on its platforms, particularly in the politically sensitive context of elections. By publicly sharing information about threats and labeling state-controlled media, Meta seeks to enhance transparency and user awareness regarding the authenticity and origins of content.

Addressing GenAI Technology Challenges

Meta is also confronting the challenges posed by Generative AI (GenAI) technologies, especially in the context of content generation. With the increasing sophistication of AI in creating realistic images, videos, and text, the potential for misuse in the political sphere has become a significant concern.

Meta has established policies and measures specifically targeting AI-generated content. These policies are designed to ensure that content on their platforms, whether created by humans or AI, adheres to community and advertising standards. In situations where AI-generated content violates these standards, Meta takes action to address the issue, which may include removal of the content or reduction in its distribution.

Furthermore, Meta is developing tools to identify and label AI-generated images and videos. This initiative reflects an understanding of the importance of transparency in the digital ecosystem. By labeling AI-generated content, Meta aims to provide users with clear information about the nature of the content they are viewing, enabling them to make more informed assessments of its authenticity and reliability.

The development and implementation of these tools and policies are part of Meta’s broader response to the challenges posed by advanced digital technologies. As these technologies continue to advance, the company's strategies and tools are expected to evolve in tandem, adapting to new forms of digital content and potential threats to information integrity.


Alex McFarland is an AI journalist and writer exploring the latest developments in artificial intelligence. He has collaborated with numerous AI startups and publications worldwide.