Misinformation and disinformation continue to be a major concern in elections around the globe, despite public policies from social media platforms aiming to address the problem.

Because platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube seem to have so much trouble working out how to handle the vast amount of election mis- and dis-information on their platforms, we’ve done the work for them.

Mozilla has created a checklist of Minimum Election Standards that all platforms should adhere to, detailing the baseline requirements needed to deter election-related disinformation on their services.

The guidelines consist of seven major steps that platforms must take:

  • Remove false content
  • Promote authoritative sources
  • Work with local/regional stakeholders
  • Share election-related information
  • Provide advertising transparency
  • Ensure adequate election integrity processes
  • Push back against rogue governments

The checklist is to make sure each of these seven standards is implemented successfully, no matter where in the world the elections are taking place.

Ensuring election integrity

These guidelines were compiled after extensive research cataloguing how different platforms chose to implement their election-related policies in different countries during major elections.

We tracked the policies of social media companies in combating the disinformation to determine who and what was effective — and what was not. This work was carried out using Mozilla’s Platform Election Policy Tracker, first debuted during the 2020 US election cycle. There, we learned platforms did too little, too late – and transparency was badly needed.

In Germany’s 2021 elections, our Platform Election Policy Tracker determined that once again platforms have fallen short in adequately policing election misinformation. Further, our research suggests that elections outside of the US (especially in countries where English is not the primary language) are not receiving the equivalent level of resources that companies put in place for the 2020 US elections.

It’s clear that social media platforms are either not inclined to effectively implement their own policies, or dedicate the necessary resources to protect their users during critical moments for their democracies.

With our Minimum Election Standards for platforms, we’re showing Big Tech what a comprehensive, sustained playbook for helping to secure fair elections looks like. We hope they will use this guide to direct their considerable resources to help protect voters across the globe from harmful and misleading information.

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