Twitter Reveals Further Election Misinformation Measures
October 26, 2020 Topic: Twitter Region: Americas Blog Brand: Techland Tags: Twitter20202020 ElectionMisinformationCensorshipsPolitics

Twitter Reveals Further Election Misinformation Measures

Will these measures work or only make things worse?

Major social media platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook, have been heavily criticized over the last four years for not doing enough to stop misinformation during the 2016 election.

In the 2020 election, Twitter, at least, has been doing quite a lot, although observers differ on whether or not it’s doing the right thing.

First, Twitter took steps to eliminate what’s known as “copy pasta,” while also at times blocking tweets by President Trump that were deemed to spread false information about coronavirus, which was something that Twitter had long resisted doing.

Earlier this fall, Twitter began rolling out a feature encouraging users to read articles before sharing them, and later the service, at least temporarily, disabled the traditional retweet button, bringing up a “quote tweet” screen before allowing users to retweet messages.

In early October, Twitter announced more measures, including a pledge to remove posts from political candidates who prematurely declared victory, while also promising to get rid of posts which “encourage violence or call for people to interfere with election results or the smooth operation of polling places.” Later in October, Twitter was heavily criticized when it temporarily prevented users from posting a link to a controversial New York Post story about a laptop involving Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden.

On Monday, with Election Day in the United States just over a week away, Twitter announced another new move related to the election.

“Election 2020 is unlike any other in U.S. history. With so many more people voting by mail and potentially delayed results, starting today, we’ll show you prompts in your Home timeline and Search to help you stay informed on these critical topics,” the Twitter Support account said Monday.

This includes a series of new anti-misinformation banners. Those shared in the Support account’s tweet include “you might encounter misleading information about voting by mail” and “election results might be delayed.”

How will this work, exactly? Per Engadget, the banners will show up when users search Twitter for certain election-related topics. Each will link to Twitter Moments with more information on those specific topics.

Last week, per The Guardian, a Dutch security researcher claimed that he had managed to hack into President Trump’s Twitter account, simply by guessing Trump’s password, which he says was “maga2020!” The researcher did not send any tweets from the account.

However, Twitter says this intrusion did not happen.

“We’ve seen no evidence to corroborate this claim, including from the article published in the Netherlands today,” Twitter said in a statement. “We proactively implemented account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the United States, including federal branches of government.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters