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Twitter rolls out misinformation rules ahead of US midterms


Twitter reintroduced its rules governing election misinformation as the social media site prepares for this year’s midterms, the company said Thursday.

The San Francisco-based tech giant said it will apply its “civic integrity policy” to the Nov. 8 midterm elections, in which all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives as well as a third of the Senate will be up for grabs.

The stated goal of the policy, which was first introduced in 2018, is to “elevate credible information” and “help keep you safe on Twitter.”

“The mission of our civic integrity work is to protect the conversation on Twitter during elections or other civic processes,” according to Twitter.

Twitter will offer users “prebunks” — or prompts on the home screen that help guide people to accurate information. It will also apply labels to tweets that it deems to be misleading.

Social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and others came under fire during the 2016 presidential campaign for not cracking down on misleading claims.

But efforts to boost content moderation have also led to accusations from conservatives that liberal-leaning tech companies are biased toward Democrats.

Twitter announced it will enforce its "civic integrity policy" in the run-up to November's midterm elections.
Twitter announced it will enforce its “civic integrity policy” in the run-up to November’s midterm elections.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Twitter, Facebook and other tech sites banned then-President Donald Trump from their platforms after his supporters ransacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Twitter also acknowledged that it erred when it censored a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the weeks leading to the Nov. 2020 elections.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter earlier this year for $44 billion with the aim of altering its content moderation policy to allow for greater freedom of expression.

Musk, who has vowed to reinstate Trump’s account, tried to back out of the acquisition, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit against him in hopes of enforcing the merger agreement.

Twitter and other social media companies have been criticized for failing to clamp down on false claims made online.
Twitter and other social media companies have been criticized for failing to clamp down on false claims made online.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter said Thursday the reinstated policy is an expression of its commitment to “protecting the integrity of the election conversation.”

The company said it evaluates “external data and internal country-based metrics” in order to “assess the potential for online or offline harm” as well as “the potential for false or misleading information about civic processes and human rights concerns.”

The site will offer regional hubs for local elections so that users can more easily access information about candidates in state-specific contests.

Earlier this year, Twitter said it tested improved recommendation settings so that tweets that are deemed as containing misinformation do not get promoted through notifications.

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


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