CMS contribution to DSA election guidelines

Online platforms and search engines have become important venues for civic discourse and for shaping public opinion and voter behaviour. The Digital Services Act (DSA) imposes obligations on providers of very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines(VLOSEs), i.e. those with more than 45 million average monthly active recipients of their service in the European Union, to carry out specific risk assessments and put in place reasonable, proportionate and effective risk mitigation measures including for “any actual or foreseeable negative effects on civic discourse and electoral processes”.


According to article 56 of the DSA, the European Commission is entrusted with the sole responsibility of supervising the VLOPs and VLOSEs and enforcing the provisions pertaining to systemic risks. For this, the Commission published, on February 8th, draft guidelines on the risk mitigation measures the VLOPs and VLOSEs may adopt as part of their mandatory due diligence tasks. In particular, these guidelines include best practices and industry standards touching upon:


• Identification of systemic risks related to electoral processes
• Elections-specific risk mitigation measures
• Risks posed by generative AI
• Cooperation with national authorities, independent experts and CSOs
• Mitigation measures to be taken specifically:
     • during the electoral period
     • after the elections
     • during the upcoming election to the European Parliament


As part of the drafting process, the European Commission sought input for the draft election guidelines and invited relevant stakeholders to respond to the public consultation. Council for Media Services, a designated proto-Digital Services Coordinator, provided the DSA enforcement team with a detailed response, drawing on its experience from leading the work of ERGA on disinformation and proto-DSCs on systemic risks. For the sake of brevity, Council for Media Services prepared an overview of the recommendations included in the draft DSA election guidelines as well as an overview of its response to the European Commission.

 

DSA Election Guidelines – CMS overview

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