Following the 2016 election, Twitter is working diligently to avoid the spread of misinformation on their platform.
On Friday, the application announced that new changes will be made to their software. The purpose of these changes is to easily monitor and filter out misinformation that can reach the general public. As election day grows closer, combating misinformation becomes more and more pivotal.
Election Day is 3 weeks from tomorrow. Whatever spare time you have, please pitch in to vote, phone bank, text, post card, and donate.
— Amy Siskind ????️???? (@Amy_Siskind) October 12, 2020
In an official blog post, the company said: “We expect this will further reduce the visibility of misleading information, and will encourage people to reconsider if they want to amplify these tweets.”
According to Twitter, if a candidate, campaign account, or any other account has tweets that are labeled as misinformation, a warning will be shown to users before they can view the tweet. Also, Twitter users will not be able to like or comment on it.
If a user attempts to retweet a misleading tweet, they will receive this message: “This is disputed. Help keep Twitter a place for reliable info. Find out more before sharing.”
Umm, @Twitter? One of your check mark people is spreading misinformation.
— Michael Jolley (@mjolley22) October 12, 2020
These changes will potentially impact President Trump. His tweets have been flagged countless times for misinformation and have been fact-checked by multiple sources in the past.
The general public’s reaction is most definitely split when it comes to these changes. Some users are calling out the platform for filtering the information that they can share and spread online. Others are excited and relieved that the application is aiming to have more monitoring.
In a statement, Twitter said: “Twitter has a critical role to play in protecting the integrity of the election conversation, and we encourage candidates, campaigns, news outlets and voters to use Twitter respectfully and to recognize our collective responsibility to the electorate to guarantee a safe, fair and legitimate democratic process this November.”
In addition to the previously mentioned prompts, Twitter will also be implementing a new concept at least through the end of election week. When users attempt to retweet something, they will be encouraged to quote that tweet or also comment on it.
Representatives from Twitter explained that the goal of this is to “encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people add their own thoughts, reactions and perspectives to the conversation.”
Tweets that refer to violence surrounding the election or encouraging people to interfere with voting will be flagged and removed.
The platform’s Civic Integrity Policy will be enforced on and around election night, according to Twitter’s official blog post.
Specifically, the blog post explained that Twitter will not allow people or political figures to “claim an election win before it is authoritatively called.”
.@FoxNews allows more negative ads on me than practically all of the other networks combined. Not like the old days, but we will win even bigger than 2016. Roger Ailes was the GREATEST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2020
The blog continued to explain its policy further to users. “To determine the results of an election in the US, we require either an announcement from state election officials, or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets that make independent election calls. Tweets which include premature claims will be labeled and direct people to our official US election page.”
Samantha Zager, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, recently spoke out about this announcement.
She explained that Twitter changes are “extremely dangerous for our democracy.”
Facebook and Google have also banned together to stop and ban all political advertisements after the polls close.
Twitter has also been including links and sources to credible information where users can read more about specific topics and issues presented on the platform. The application will also stop “liked by” or “followed by” recommendations or notifications from people users do not know.
It is unclear whether or not more changes will be made or altered on the platform prior to this year’s election. Many are wondering how long these changes will last or if they will be removed following the election.
Twitter should ban Trumps account the second he loses the election so he cant use it to incite his supporters to do more violence.
— Secret Agent Number Six (@DesignationSix) October 11, 2020
The answer to that question is unknown currently. However, Twitter explained in their official statement: “As with any other product change, we will learn, observe, and iterate based on the impact of these changes, to inform both our strategy around future global elections and Twitter’s overall product experience.”
Arguments about these changes have started to brew on the application as well as on other social media platforms. Certain users are claiming that these changes violate first amendment rights while others do not think these changes will be enough to make a serious impact at all.