Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Social Media Platforms and Generative AI Companies Must Take Critical Steps to Protect Elections in 2024
Press Release

RELEASE: Social Media Platforms and Generative AI Companies Must Take Critical Steps to Protect Elections in 2024

Washington, D.C. —  A series of high-profile global elections in 2024 affecting billions of voters will require social media platforms and generative artificial intelligence (AI) developers to meet the moment amid an evolving and uncertain technology landscape. A new CAP report outlines recommendations for how social media platforms can do this.

The report is geared toward the evolving technology landscape, including with the rise of generative AI and launch of a new platform Threads, and offers questions and strategies for mitigating risks and protecting against threats to elections while upholding democratic values around the world across the following categories:

  • The 3 Ps: policy, process, and protocol: Ensure platforms have the policies, processes, and protocols to rely on in the periods before, during, and after an election by auditing existing ones and implementing new ones where necessary. 
  • Generative AI development: Create general usage and election-specific policies that promote accurate information and prohibit election misinformation and be transparent about enforcement of these policies via transparency reporting. 
  • Transparency and researcher access: Build on existing efforts by investing heavily in updated and expanded localized election-related transparency efforts to maintain user trust and promote accurate information and provide researchers with access to platform data to ensure accountability throughout an election cycle.
  • Staffing and personnel: Allocate appropriate staffing toward election-related issues starting in 2023 and through the high-risk elections of 2024 while halting additional restructuring efforts. 
  • External product changes: Ship user-facing product changes and enhancements directly within the user interface that clearly and simply educate users, promote civic engagement, and reduce exposure to risky or harmful content.

The report highlights Threads as a case study on how platforms can utilize these recommendations as they invest in the integrity, trust, and safety of products in 2024 and beyond. 

“We know that in 2024, more than 2 billion people across the globe will head to the polls,” said Megan Shahi, director of Technology Policy at CAP and author of the report. “If social media platforms and AI companies take the steps outlined in our report, they can prepare to mitigate the risks, abuses, and threats to elections and digital democracy. But they must start now before it is too late.”

Read the report: “Protecting Democracy Online in 2024 and Beyond” by Megan Shahi

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Julia Cusick at [email protected].

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