The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) released Voluntary Election Integrity Guidelines for technology companies yesterday (19 March), aimed at enhancing election integrity and trust in the information ecosystem.

Leading technology companies including Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snap, and TikTok expressed support for these guidelines on X, formerly Twitter.

Google said on 12 March that it will restrict its AI chatbot Gemini from answering questions about this year’s many global elections.

The move comes after the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that AI disinformation poses the most significant threat to the world in 2024.

The new guidelines address challenges such as disinformation, cyberattacks, internet throttling (deliberately slowing internet access to certain sites) and disruptions during elections, providing a framework for cooperation between technology companies and authorities.

The IFES emphasised the importance of collaboration between election officials and technology companies in combating disinformation and ensuring free, fair, and secure elections.

Representatives from major technology companies have contributed to shaping these guidelines.

Microsoft, Snap, and TikTok have also endorsed the principles outlined in the guidelines, emphasising their efforts to maintain election integrity through various measures.

These guidelines mark the beginning of a “Year of Action” where IFES and its partners will work on progressively implementing the guidelines in collaboration with technology companies, authorities, and civil society.

Last week, Latvia-based, Russian-language media outlet Meduza accused Russian authorities of launching an unprecedented campaign of cyberattacks intended to “destroy” it.

These attacks – and disinformation campaigns – are expected to ramp up ahead of elections in Slovakia (24 March), North Macedonia (May), Lithuania (May), European Parliament (June), Croatia (July) and Romania (December).

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