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Civil society groups call for safe and quality-driven recommender systems to safeguard the 2024 EU Elections

Joint-Civil Society Response on the Commission’s Guidelines for Providers of Very Large Online Platforms and Very Large Online Search Engines on the Mitigation of Systemic Risks for Electoral Processes

This response was prepared by more than a dozen civil society organisations working across Europe. Together we commend the Commission for its efforts to protect elections.

We would like to draw attention to an area critical to achieving this aim: recommender system safety.

Ensuring recommender systems are designed safely is crucial for preserving electoral integrity. In addition to the safety measures the Commission proposed, such as introducing friction and circuit breakers, which we wholly support, we urge the following two critical steps for Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) to address the problem at its heart:

1. disable profiling-based recommenders by default - prioritising privacy, preventing exploitation.

2. move away from engagement-based ranking - away from a system designed to favour and incentivise extreme and emotive content.

Long-term, we call for the creation of alternative, rights-respecting recommender systems that promote active user choice, allow third-party content curation, and eliminate predatory and addictive design elements.

Click here to read our full letter.


  1. AI Forensics
  2. Centre for Peace Studies from Croatia
  3. Defend Democracy
  4. Digital Action
  5. Ekō
  6. Eticas Foundation
  7. Foundation The London Story
  8. Global Witness
  9. Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)
  10. Irish Council for Civil Liberties
  11. #jesuislà
  12. Real Facebook Oversight Board
  13. The Citizens
  14. Panoptykon Foundation
  15. People vs Big Tech
  16. Politiscope