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Minimum Election Standards

Baseline requirements platforms must meet to deter disinformation

Alan Davidson
Jon Lloyd
Kaili Lambe

Written by Alan Davidson, Jon Lloyd, Kaili Lambe and Julia Reinhardt

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Based on Mozilla's elections-related research, we have compiled a list of requirements that governments and populations should demand of platforms before any major election. Contexts will vary from country to country, but these minimum standards can better ensure that platforms do what’s necessary, not what’s convenient.

Removing false content:

  • Are platforms identifying and taking action against disinformation (e.g., through labeling, overlays, or removal)?
  • Are platforms deleting/suspending the accounts of repeated purveyors of election disinformation in a timely fashion?

Promoting authoritative sources:

  • Are platforms promoting authoritative sources of information (such as election rules, dates, and locations), with adequate local context?

Working with local/regional stakeholders:

  • Are platforms working with independent fact-checkers?
  • Are fact-checkers based in or from the country/region in question?
  • Are platforms working with local/regional civil society organizations working to protect the integrity of elections (for example, by helping to identify context-specific harms)?
  • Are they providing financial support to them if they are?

Sharing election-related information:

  • Are platforms communicating to relevant stakeholders/the public information on how they are addressing election-related problems on their services?
  • Are they doing so in the local language(s)?
  • Are platforms transparent about steps they are taking to counter election disinformation and other election-related harms?
  • Are platforms sharing the research they’ve conducted into disinformation activities on their platforms with any third parties?

Providing advertising transparency:

  • Are platforms offering transparency of political advertising through publicly available and functional ad libraries?

Ensuring adequate election integrity processes:

  • Are platforms working with/employing a sufficient number of content moderators speaking the local language(s) and familiar with the local context?
  • Do platforms have adequate dedicated staff working on election integrity? And if not, why?
  • Do platforms have processes in place to escalate election integrity recommendations and give them adequate attention from executive leadership?
  • Are platforms preparing sufficiently in advance of the election?

Pushing back against rogue governments:

  • Do platforms have a plan to confront governments’ attempts to censor content, spread disinformation, abuse or threaten political opponents, or suspend/block the service?

The Minimum Election Standards are a product of our investigation into social media platforms' policies during the German Bundestag Election 2021. Read more: "Opaque and Overstretched: How platforms failed to curb disinformation during the German 2021 election"

These Minimum Election Standards are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.