Online platforms & elections: monitoring report from the Slovak regulator

posted on 04 March, 2024   (public)

Monitoring of online platforms' obligations during the electoral period: a first insight into the Digital Services Act's implementation

The Analytical Department of the Slovak Council for Media Services (CMS) published its "Monitoring of platform functionalities in relation to the 2023 Elections to the National Council of the Slovak Republic" in February 2024.

With this report, the CMS aimed at assessing the functionalities provided by Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube during the pre-election campaign* to comply with their obligations under the Slovak Act on Media Services.  


- Bilateral meetings with platforms before the launch of the campaign to present the requirements related to the electoral campaign and especially the ones applying to platforms under the Slovak Act on Media Services:

  1. Reliable information sources
  2. Political advertising transparency where relevant**,
  3. Media literacy activities,
  4. Efficient evaluation of alerts reported by the regulator.

- Constant monitoring of the platforms during the electoral campaign and questionnaires sent to platforms after the campaign to collect further data on the implementation of the requirements by the platforms.

- Analysis of the data (November-December).

Key findings:

Source: CMS

Key deficiencies and shortcomings:

- Ad libraries: lack of translation in Slovak language (Meta) and lack of advertisers’ contact details (Google).

- Political advertising disclaimer: absent and/or incomplete.

- Meta’s advertiser identity verification process: lack of transparency.

Moreover, the CMS noticed an increasing use of AI-generated deep fake content during the electoral campaign. A chapter of the report is dedicated to the issue, explaining the actions undertaken by the regulator and the platforms’ responses (see also EPRA news – for members only).

The Slovak legal framework aligns the platforms' requirements with the Digital Services Act and the commitments taken by the online intermediaries under the Code of Practice on Disinformation. With this monitoring, the CMS provides a first insight into online platforms' compliance with the new European legal framework. 

*In 2023, early Parliamentary elections were held on 30 September.

**On TikTok, paid political advertising is prohibited in general.

Source: Council for Media Services (SK)