Commission publishes guidelines under the DSA for the mitigation of systemic risks online for elections

Today, the Commission has published guidelines on recommended measures to Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines to mitigate systemic risks online that may impact the integrity of elections, with specific guidance for the upcoming European Parliament elections in June.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “We adopted the Digital Services Act to make sure technologies serve people, and the societies that we live in. Ahead of crucial European elections, this includes obligations for platforms to protect users from risks related to electoral processes – like manipulation, or disinformation. Today’s guidelines provide concrete recommendations for platforms to put this obligation into practice.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “With the Digital Services Act, Europe is the first continent with a law to address systemic risks on online platforms that can have real-world negative effects on our democratic societies. 2024 is a significant year for elections. That is why with today’s guidelines we are making full use of all the tools offered by the DSA to ensure platforms comply with their obligations and are not misused to manipulate our elections, while safeguarding freedom of expression.”

Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), designated services with more than 45 million active users in the EU have the obligation to mitigate the risks related to electoral processes, while safeguarding fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

The guidelines include specific measures ahead of the upcoming European elections. Given their unique cross-border and European dimension, Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines should ensure that sufficient resources and risk mitigation measures are available and distributed in a way that is proportionate to the risk assessments.

The guidelines take into account the input received from the public consultation launched by the Commission on 8 February 2024 and also build on the ongoing work under the Code of Practice on disinformation. The Commission also cooperated with Digital Services Coordinators in the framework of the European Board for Digital Services on the guidelines.