European Commission Grills Big Tech on AI Risks to Elections: Deepfakes, Misinformation in Focus

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The European Commission formally enquired into strategies adopted by big tech companies on March 14 to mitigate generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) risks capable of misleading election voters. The commission has given Big Techs an April 3 deadline to provide documents and information to its requests.

The European Commission issued the official request to big technological companies including Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, Google Search, Bing, Snapchat, and YouTube on AI-related risk.

European Commission Questions Big Techs over Generative AI’s Hazards

According to Bloomberg

, this was conveyed in a formal request for information (RFI).

The commission asked these companies to provide further information about hazards posed by generative AI

This is because these big techs, through their respective platforms allow users to create and spread content using the technology.

The EU is more concerned about the precautions to mitigate the risks of generative AI to election voters. Therefore, it believes that the spread of viral deepfakes and automated service manipulation can impact voters’ perceptions.

In its remarks, the commission said these generative AI gives a form of “hallucination.”

Following the information requests, the European Commission has the authority to impose penalties for errors, inconsistencies, or misrepresentation.

This decision follows the EU’s recent e-commerce and online governance regulations – the Digital Services Act (DSA).

This act classified eight platforms as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs). In this light, it has mandated VLOPs to assess and manage systemic risks in addition to following other outlined guidelines.

Meanwhile, election security is another area of concern that the commission is looking into. This is due to its decision to seek answers for the impact of generative AI on election processes.

Other concerns include gender-based violence, distribution of illicit content, defense of fundamental rights and minors, as well as mental health.

EU Moves Towards Election Security Rules

The European Commission has been actively looking into the protection of election voters, even as the use of AI increases across all fields.

A recent study showed the capacity of AI to spread misinformation among election voters. Therefore, the commission is committed to creating official guidelines for the EU in this regard.

The EU is already counting down to March 27 to finalize election security regulations. The European body has been requesting feedback on election security statutes even by public consultations.

This recent RFI to the big techs is considered a crucial request that will aid the creation of the EU’s Election security policy.

Once created, the policy will help combat lingering election security challenges including misinformation among election voters.



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