Meta to build election operations center in Europe to inspect AI content

Fact-checkers will label AI-generated media for upcoming EU elections

Meta is launching an "EU-specific Elections Operations Center" to tackle AI-generated misinformation and political advertising to prepare for upcoming parliament elections.

As part of the social media giant's efforts to moderate content, Meta is working with the European Fact-Checking Standards Network – a project backed by an association of fact-checking organizations – to train people to inspect AI-generated content and other forms of digitally doctored media. 

"We remove the most serious kinds of misinformation from Facebook, Instagram and Threads, such as content that could contribute to imminent violence or physical harm, or that is intended to suppress voting," it explained on Monday. 

"For content that doesn't violate these particular policies, we work with independent fact-checking organizations – 26 partners across the EU covering 22 languages – who review and rate content. We are currently expanding the program in Europe with three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia."

Meta already has systems in place that label realistic AI-generated images created by various tools from Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Adobe, Midjourney, and Shutterstock uploaded on its social media platforms. Nick Clegg, the group's president of global affairs, previously announced that the label "Imagined with AI" will be added in the next few months. 

Advertisers have to be transparent if their campaigns on social issues, elections, or politics, contain synthetic content under new rules. Other types of users will soon be able to disclose when they share AI-generated images, video, or audio in upcoming changes. Meta warned that it may apply penalties if people aren't honest. 

Meanwhile, the content moderators will inspect media and can tag it with further information – like attaching an "altered" label, which will cause such medias to be treated as less relevant, so it appears lower down on people's feeds. They can also add more context and information to avoid confusing users. Misleading adverts that get debunked by fact-checkers will be removed. 

Adverts aimed at suppressing voter turnout, undermining the election process, or confusing the results are not allowed on Meta's platforms. Unfortunately, 95 percent of people don't bother reading the extra information on fact-checked posts, according to Meta, so more stringent action was necessary. 

Advertisers are also now required to disclose the source of their funding – netizens will see a "paid for by" label.

The latest changes come as Meta and other AI developers face increasing pressure from regulators to ramp up content moderation practices. Generative AI is rapidly improving, and commercial tools are available to anyone to create realistic synthetic media. The risks of spreading political misinformation are particularly high as the EU, UK, and US conducts elections this year. ®

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