Twitter users react as platform announces steps “to protect” US midterm elections

Twitter users react as platform announces steps "to protect" US midterm elections. Image: Anthony Correia/Shutterstock.com

IN a lengthy blog post, social media platform Twitter announced steps ahead of the US midterms elections to “protect civic conversation on Twitter.”

As part of the steps from Twitter “to protect” the US midterm elections, the social media platform announced they were “activating enforcement of our Civic Integrity Policy for the 2022 US midterms” – among other things.

“As a key part of the Twitter Rules, since 2018, our Civic Integrity Policy has helped people find credible information during elections and other civic processes — including in the Philippines, Kenya, Australia, Brazil, and India – just this year,” the company wrote.

“Today, as we do ahead of other global elections, we’re activating enforcement of our Civic Integrity Policy for the 2022 US midterms.”

The company outlined the “Civic Integrity Policy”.

“It covers the most common types of harmful misleading information about elections and civic events, such as: claims about how to participate in a civic process like how to vote, misleading content intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the election, and misleading claims intended to undermine public confidence in an election – including false information about the outcome of the election,” it said.

“Tweets with this content may be labelled with links to credible information or helpful context, and Twitter will not recommend or amplify this content in areas of the product where Twitter makes recommendations.

“People on Twitter will see a prompt prior to liking or sharing labelled tweets, and in cases where there is potential for harm associated with the false or misleading claim, the Tweet may not be liked or shared to prevent the spread of the misleading information.”

It added: “Fake accounts that misrepresent affiliation to a candidate or elected official are prohibited under our existing Misleading & Deceptive Identities Policy — and we remain vigilant against potential coordinated manipulation efforts. And during this election period, and year-round, we continue to enforce our safety policies – including for conduct targeting election workers.”

Other tactics announced were “Redesigned labels”.

“Late last year, we tested new misleading information labels and saw promising results. The new labels increased click-through rates by 17 per cent, meaning more people were clicking labels to read debunking content,” it said.

“We also saw notable decreases in engagement with Tweets labelled with the new design: -13 per cent in replies, -10 per cent in Retweets and -15 per cent in likes.”

The company then listed what Twitter users “can expect to see on Twitter as election day approaches in the US.”

Prebunks – “We’re also bringing back prebunks — in English, Spanish, and all other languages supported on Twitter — to get ahead of misleading narratives on Twitter, and to proactively address topics that may be the subject of misinformation.

“Over the coming months, we’ll place prompts directly on people’s timelines in the US and in Search when people type related terms, phrases, or hashtags.”

State-specific event hubs – “We’ve begun rolling out state-specific event hubs as primaries take place across the country. These localised pages feature real-time election information from state election officials, plus local news outlets and journalists.”

“Soon, we’ll roll out an additional, nationally focused Event page, available to everyone in the US.”

Dedicated Explore tab – “As elections take place around the world, Twitter often serves as the centralised hub for real-time political conversation, resources, and breaking news. We’ll be launching a dedicated Explore tab that will include:

  • National news in both English and Spanish by reputable news outlets, curated by Twitter’s Curation team;
    Localised news and resources by state;
  • Voter education public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish, created using information from nonpartisan government and voting advocacy organisations.

Identifying who’s running for office – “Our candidate account labels make it easier to identify who’s running for office. We began rolling out these labels in May, as primary elections kicked into full swing, and you’ll continue to see these labels until the end of the general election. These labels:

  • Appear on designated candidate accounts for those running for US Senate, US House of Representatives, or Governor, who’ve qualified for the general election ballot;
  • Contain critical candidate information; including the office the candidate is running for, the state the office is located in, and the district number (for US House candidates);
  • Appear at the top of the candidate’s profile page and on all of their Tweets.

Improving recommendations – “We’ve also made – and continue to make – updates to how and what we recommend on Twitter. Earlier this year, in the US and Brazil, we tested ways to prevent misleading Tweets from being recommended through notifications.

“Early results show that impressions on misleading information dropped by 1.6 million per month, as a direct result of the experiment.  

“We’ve since applied this intervention to notification recommendations on Twitter and are exploring possibilities for other surfaces on Twitter.”

Following the news, users of the social media platform reacted to the company’s announcement.

“Oh what’s that? Censor conservatives?” one person wrote.

Another said: “I told you all the other day… They used your hatred for Trump against you. He was the perfect candidate to directly diminish rights from the American people because in essence, the people demanded their rights to be taken away, when they demanded him to be silenced. THINK!”

While another said: “When did I vote for Twitter to represent me? I must have missed that one.”

“aka censorship,” said another.

Another person on the platform wrote: “Oh, thank our lucky stars. Twitter stepping in again to manage a task no one asked them to take on… 🙃”

To which someone pointed out: “Actually the government is & has asked them before.”


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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