Social Media

Twitter Expands Misinformation Rules Ahead of US Election

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Twitter Inc. has said it would label or remove misinformation that aims to undermine confidence in the US election, including posts claiming victory before results have been certified or inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.Twitter said in a blog post it was updating its rules to recognize the changes in how people will vote in the Nov. 3 election and try to protect against voter suppression and misleading content on its platform.

Twitter said in a blog post rolling out the new policy, “The conversation happening on Twitter is never more important than during elections. Twitter is where people come to hear directly from elected officials and candidates for office, it’s where they come to find breaking news, and increasingly, it’s an integral source for information on when and how to vote in elections.”

The widespread use of mail ballots in the US election due to the coronavirus pandemic will likely cause significant delays in tallying results, which some experts fear could allow misinformation to gain traction.US President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that voting by mail is susceptible to large-scale fraud.

Twitter also said it would also label or remove misinformation creating confusion about the laws, regulations and officials involved in civic processes, as well as disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process, such as unverified information about vote tallying or election rigging.A Twitter spokesman said whether content had specific falsehoods or could cause greater harm would determine if it would be removed, or labeled and have its reach reduced.

The Trump administration has already squared off with Twitter over its application of fact-checks on the president’s tweets. After Twitter labeled a false tweet about mail-in voting over the summer, Trump signed an executive order aimed at paring back protections provided to social media platforms through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The Federal Communications Commission was asked to reinterpret the pivotal internet law earlier this year, but it has yet to act on the order.

Social media companies have been under pressure to combat misinformation after U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 vote, allegations that Moscow has denied.The companies have also been under scrutiny over their responses to inflammatory content posted by President Trump. Since May, Twitter has attached warnings and fact-checking labels to Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots.

Facebook Inc. last week said it was creating a label for posts by candidates or campaigns that made premature claims of victory. It also said it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before Election Day. Facebook also said that it would not accept new political ads a week before the November election takes place, and it would expand its work to label posts that could suppress the vote. Twitter banned all political advertising last year.