Twitter announced its new misinformation policy on August 11, 2022, ahead of the November 8 U.S. midterm election to "protect election conversations, and to help ensure people feel confident about what they see on Twitter."
Twitter To Activate Its Civic Integrity Policy
The company announced that it would activate its Civic Integrity Policy, which was implemented in 2018, to assist people in other countries, including the Philippines, Kenya, and Australia, in finding credible information during elections and other similar civic processes.
According to Twitter's blog post, the Civic Integrity Policy addresses the most common harmful misleading information types about elections and civic events, such as content about the voting process, content intended to intimidate or dissuade people from voting, and false claims about election outcomes.
The company stated that such content could be labeled with links to credible information or helpful context. It asserted that Twitter would not recommend, amplify, or promote this content in product areas where the company makes recommendations. “People on Twitter will see a prompt prior to liking or sharing labeled 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,” the blog added.
Twitter stated that fake accounts that misrepresent violating its policies or affiliating with a candidate or elected official are prohibited, and the company confirms that it is on high alert for any potential coordinated manipulation efforts.
Twitter's misinformation policies aim to "empower voters to find reliable information about how to register, vote, and the options on their ballot." In addition, the company intends to release a number of product updates to make it easier to find reliable news and accurate information about the midterm elections.
The social company giant also mentioned that it would help protect and secure accounts of government officials, candidates, and journalists. The blog reminds the users to use strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and check the third-party apps connected to their accounts.
Despite these precautions, voting rights advocates say Twitter's plan to combat misinformation during elections is insufficient, and they point to numerous flaws in the company's previous misinformation policies. The experts also stated that recommendations and labels are not ideal solutions to the misinformation problem.
According to experts, election misinformation, such as false information about voting systems and misleading narratives about candidates, undermines public trust in election processes and results.
Elections misinformation can easily influence how voters think about the election process. Artificial Intelligence, cyber tools, and social engineering may also be directed at targeting candidates and voters at the same time.
For the European Commission, false information hurts democracy by making people less likely to trust institutions and the media and to make decisions based on accurate information. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Americans view misinformation as a more serious issue than racism, climate change, or terrorism. Meanwhile, others believe that disinformation advertisements from unidentified sources are aimed at democracy.
According to Darrell West, director of Governance Studies at Brookings, the news media plays a critical role in combating misinformation and sophisticated disinformation campaigns. West proposed that the government promote media literacy to assist voters in identifying misinformation and preventing its spread.
Translated by Khadija Boufous