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EU polls: Meta forms teams to fight disinfo, AI abuse.


In Brussels, the parent company of Facebook, Meta, announced plans to establish a dedicated team aimed at combating disinformation and addressing the misuse of generative artificial intelligence (AI) leading up to the European Parliament elections scheduled for June. The move comes amidst growing concerns surrounding election interference and the dissemination of misleading AI-generated content. 

The emergence of generative AI, capable of rapidly producing text, images, and videos based on given prompts, has raised alarms about its potential to disrupt major elections worldwide this year. With the European Parliament elections slated for June 6-9, where 720 lawmakers, in conjunction with EU governments, shape new policies and legislation, Meta is gearing up its efforts to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

Marco Pancini, Meta's head of EU affairs, outlined the company's strategy in a blog post, emphasizing the activation of an Elections Operations Center as the election draws nearer. This center will serve as a hub for identifying potential threats and implementing real-time mitigations to ensure the elections proceed smoothly and without interference. 

The multidisciplinary team tasked with this mission comprises experts from various fields, including intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy, and legal affairs. Their collective focus will be on combating misinformation, addressing influence operations, and mitigating the risks associated with the abuse of generative AI technologies.

Currently collaborating with 26 independent fact-checking organizations across the European Union, covering 22 languages, Meta plans to expand its partnerships by adding three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia. Pancini underscored the importance of these partnerships in bolstering efforts to combat misinformation and ensure the reliability of information circulating online, particularly during critical electoral periods.

Moreover, Meta, alongside Microsoft, OpenAI, and 17 other tech companies, recently entered into an agreement to collaborate in preventing deceptive AI-generated content from interfering with elections globally throughout the year. This collaborative effort signifies a collective commitment among industry leaders to address the growing threat posed by AI-driven disinformation campaigns and election interference.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve and technologies such as generative AI become more prevalent, the need for proactive measures to safeguard democratic processes becomes increasingly apparent. Meta's initiative to establish a specialized team and forge partnerships underscores the company's recognition of its responsibility to mitigate the risks associated with emerging technologies and uphold the integrity of democratic elections. Through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, stakeholders aim to fortify defenses against disinformation and safeguard the democratic principles upon which elections are founded.

Feb. 26, 2024 4:07 p.m. 1537

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