FIX OUR FEEDS – EU Elections 2024

Our information space has never been under greater threat. Trust in information, healthy public debates and democracy are intertwined and nowhere more so than on social media platforms. The EU has made huge strides forward in regulating Big Tech. Yet enforcement is uncertain. The EU elections present the Digital Services Act with a baptism of fire.

Today’s dominant social media platforms have fallen short of their promise to connect and empower people, instead prioritising engagement metrics over safety. Misinformation, hate speech and other forms of divisive discourse have pervaded this public sphere through engagement metrics and the use of “recommender systems” based on behavioural profiling, in other words “observing and collecting passive data about how users behave and interact on the platform in order to infer their interests.”

Time is running out to protect our elections. That's why, on Thursday, May 16, we are doing a day of action together with a group of civil society organisations including The London Story, #jesuislá, Panoptykon, Ekō, EDRi, The Citizens, and The Real Facebook Oversight Board, calling on Commissioner Thierry Breton to #FixOurFeeds!

Our Key Asks:

  1. Turn off profiling-based recommender systems the week before and the week of the EU elections.
  2. Implement other appropriate “break-glass” measures to prevent algorithmic amplification of harmful borderline content, such as misinformation (according to independent third-party fact-checkers), or hateful content in the run up to elections.

***Campaign updates***


Everyone’s favourite ‘FREEmium' chocolate corporation”

On 16th May, outside the European Commission in Brussels, we set up a pop-up snack-bar “FEED FIX” to launch the results of our new public poll showing public support to rein in toxic social media algorithms.

In a parody of social media's exploitative and objectionable business model, we handed out delicious FEED FIX chocolate, along with onerous and unfair terms and conditions that came with accepting it, plus receipts listing the "real" price of social media harms.

Ahead of the EU Parliamentary elections, new polling from YouGov showed that EU residents in France, Germany and Ireland overwhelmingly want social media companies to stop “using behavioural profiling by default”. The proposal was favoured by 61% and opposed by only 9%.

The nationally representative poll of 4,182 adults, which was commissioned by People Vs Big Tech in partnership with The London Story and Real Facebook Oversight Board, also showed that by a 30-point margin (54% to 24%) EU residents believe social media platforms are not doing enough to prevent harmful content being shown to users. 55% are not comfortable with “behavioural profiling”, the current default on all major social media platforms.

“The poll reflects an EU citizenry deeply concerned about the corrosive effects of social media, and uncomfortable with the ways algorithms target them to keep their attention. Social media giants know how to make their platforms safer, but refuse. We’re calling on the EU to make the choice for them.” – Clara Maguire, Executive Director of The Citizens.

Under the Digital Services Act, which was passed in 2023 and went fully into effect in 2024, the EU has wide-ranging authority to address algorithmic risks on social media. The EU has already launched an investigation into potential foreign interference with elections on Meta’s platforms. Advocates are calling on Commissioner Breton to go further – turning off behavioural profiling in recommender systems by default, and introducing other “break the glass” measures to reduce the amplification of harmful content the week before and after the June 6th election.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,182 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th April – 7th May 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all country adults (aged 18+). Further results here.

“An investigation is warranted and welcome, but we need action – now. The message we’re taking to Commission today – and the clear message EU residents sent in today’s poll, is fix our feed … before it’s too late.” – Ritumbra Manuvie, Executive Director of The London Story.


Thierry Breton leads the European Commission Directorate responsible for digital policy, “DG Connect” . He has been considered the “architect” of the Digital Services Act, a major piece of legislation intended to hold Big Tech platforms accountable for disinformation and online harms on their platforms.

In the past, Breton has announced major policy updates by creating and sharing Spotify playlists, with song titles revealing a secret message. We wanted to use Breton’s creative idea to bring attention to our own policy demands, so we made him a bespoke playlist of our own setting out our key demands… “Hey Ya! Mr Thierry”.

Why is fixing our feeds so important?

  • Research by University College London and the University of Kent found that after only 5 days of TikTok usage there was a four-fold increase in the level of misogynistic content being presented to teenagers on the platform's “For You” page.
  • Amnesty International found that TikTok’s algorithms exposed multiple 13-year-old child accounts that had indicated interest in mental health topics to videos glorifying suicide within less than an hour of launching the account.
  • Research by Panoptykon shows how Facebook uses algorithms to deliver personalised ads that may exploit users’ mental vulnerabilities. Users were unable to get rid of disturbing content, even when they disabled sensitive interests in ad settings limits.
  • Research by The Wall Street Journal shows that when adults followed children on Instagram, they were shown overtly sexual videos and ads from major brands. The Canadian Center for Child Protection ran its own tests with similar results.

People vs Big Tech
is an open network of civil society organisations and concerned citizens working together to challenge the power and abuses of Big Tech. Our first major priority is to ensure today’s tech titans and their legions of lobbyists are not allowed to be the dominant designers of tomorrow’s technology regulations. The network’s current major focus is to distil key legislative priorities in European regulation, highlight moments for targeted action, and amplify opportunities anywhere for people-powered mobilisation in the fight to increase public and political support for Big Tech accountability.

The London Story
is an Indian diaspora-led civil society organisation. We advocate for justice, peace, and collective action against grave human rights violations.

Real Facebook Oversight Board, founded as an emergency response to the harms of Meta in the leadup to the 2020 Elections, is a diverse global coalition of the most dynamic, creative and critical voices today in civil rights, human rights, social media policy, disinformation research, extremism and the role of social media in society.

is a global consumer watchdog: an online community of ten million people who campaign to hold big corporations accountable. We use our power as consumers, workers and investors to hold the biggest companies in the world to account.

: The association that fights against hate, misinformation, and promotes civility online to make the Internet a better place.

Panoptykon Foundation was established in 2009 as a grassroots initiative by a group of young people who refused to treat new technologies as a cure-all. We keep an eye on state and tech corporations. We fight for laws to protect people’s freedom and privacy. We empower people to live consciously in the digital world.

The EDRi network
 is a dynamic and resilient collective of NGOs, experts, advocates and academics working to defend and advance digital rights across the continent. For over two decades, it has served as the backbone of the digital rights movement in Europe.