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EU to Impose Fines on Social Media Giants for Election Disinformation

 |  March 20, 2024

The European Union (EU) is set to impose fines on major social media platforms, including Elon Musk’s X and ByteDance’s TikTok. The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that these platforms will face penalties for lax moderation within weeks, as Brussels gears up to implement its first binding regime to tackle election disinformation.

According to sources cited by the Financial Times, the EU guidelines aimed at safeguarding the integrity of elections will be officially adopted by the European Commission as early as next week.

These regulations mark a departure from the era of self-regulation for tech giants, mandating stringent measures to counter the proliferation of online threats during election cycles.

Under the impending requirements, platforms failing to effectively combat artificial intelligence-powered disinformation or deepfakes could incur fines amounting to a significant 6% of their global turnover. The move signals a robust stance by EU authorities against the dissemination of false information, especially ahead of the European elections scheduled for June.

Senior EU officials have expressed particular apprehension regarding potential destabilizing attacks orchestrated by foreign actors, notably Russian agents, during election periods. The Financial Times highlighted the necessity for social media platforms and search engines to establish dedicated teams tasked with scrutinizing the risks associated with online disinformation. These teams are expected to operate across 23 different languages throughout the EU’s 27 member states, emphasizing the comprehensive nature of the regulatory measures.

Moreover, compliance with the new guidelines mandates close collaboration with cybersecurity agencies across EU member states. This requirement underscores the imperative for tech companies to actively engage with governmental entities in combating the multifaceted challenges posed by election-related disinformation campaigns.

The impending fines underscore the EU’s commitment to safeguarding the democratic processes against malicious interference facilitated by online platforms.
Source: Reuters