Twitter adds banners to combat misinformation about voting by mail and election results


Twitter has added a new feature to combat claims that voting by mail is unsafe and a security risk.

The social media firm is placing a banner at the top of users’ feeds that preemptively debunks to topic and provides people with ‘factual information.’

‘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,’ reads the message.

Twitter is also debunking election results that urges users to be wary about ‘unconfirmed claims’ about a candidate because the announcement may be delayed.

The new feature follows president Donald Trump’s statement over the weekend when he warned vote-in mailing ‘could fall victim to fraud and cost me the election’, adding: ‘You cannot have security like this with mail-in votes.’

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Twitter has added a new feature to combat claims that voting by mail is unsafe and a security risk. The social media firm is placing a banner at the top of users’ feeds that preemptively debunks to topic and provides people with 'factual information'

Twitter has added a new feature to combat claims that voting by mail is unsafe and a security risk. The social media firm is placing a banner at the top of users’ feeds that preemptively debunks to topic and provides people with ‘factual information’

The social media firm shared the announcement in a tweet with just eight days left until election day. 

Screenshots of the banners show Twitter is addressing voting by mail and election results, each message has a ‘Find out more’ button that shares articles discussing both topics.

This is just one of the many tools Twitter has rolled out this year for the 2020 election, which it says ‘is unlike any other in US history.’

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Twitter shared a pair of screenshots on its Twitter Support account Monday, writing: ‘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 banner regarding election results, which will roll out Wednesday, notifies users that because there is an increase of voting by mail, there may be a delay in announcing the results

The banner regarding election results, which will roll out Wednesday, notifies users that because there is an increase of voting by mail, there may be a delay in announcing the results

The banners only appear when a user searches certain terms or hashtags, such as ‘voting by mail’ or ‘election results’ and are only shown to users based in the US.

The one of the messages reads: ‘Election experts confirm that voting by mail is safe and secure, even with an increase in mail-in ballots,’ one of the messages scheduled to go live Monday reads.’

‘Even so, you might encounter unconfirmed claims that voting by mail leads to election fraud ahead of the 2020 US elections.’

After the text sits a blue button that brings users to another page where they can read a library of articles related to voting by mail.

The banner regarding election results, which will roll out Wednesday, notifies users that because there is an increase of voting by mail, there may be a delay in announcing the results.

‘This means you could encounter unconfirmed claims that a candidate has won their race,’ the banner reads.

The move follows Twitters previous announcement that it is removing or labeling unverified postings claiming electoral victory as part of a stepped-up effort to protect democracy.

Both strategies aim to combat ‘false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process.’

Currently, tweets with ‘false or misleading information’ about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying or premature election results fall under the removal or labeling rule.

Some analysts have suggested that Trump, who has a large social media following, may reject the results of the election or refuse to leave office if he loses.

Both Twitter and Facebook have placed labels on Trump comments about mail-in voting.

The Twitter Safety team said it expects to take a strict approach to the updated policies.

‘We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections,’ the company said.

‘Any attempt to do so — both foreign and domestic — will be met with strict enforcement of our rules, which are applied equally and judiciously for everyone.’

The new policy also bans ‘misleading claims about the results’ or interference with the electoral process such as ‘claiming victory before election results have been certified, inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession.’



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