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Technology

Twitter imposes restrictions, more warning labels ahead of U.S. election

  • Twitter said in a blog post that, from next week, users will get a prompt pointing them to credible information before they can retweet content that has been labeled as misleading.
Published October 10, 2020

Twitter Inc said it will remove tweets calling for people to interfere with the U.S. election process or implementation of election results, including through violence, as the company also announced more restrictions to slow the spread of misinformation.

Twitter said in a blog post that, from next week, users will get a prompt pointing them to credible information before they can retweet content that has been labeled as misleading.

It said it would add more warnings and restrictions on tweets with misleading information labels from U.S. political figures like candidates and campaigns, as well as U.S.-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers or that get “significant engagement.”

Twitter, which recently told Reuters it was testing how to make its labeling more obvious and direct, said people will have to tap through warnings to see these tweets. Users can also only ‘quote tweet’ this content, as likes, retweets and replies will be turned off.

Twitter says it has labeled thousands of misleading posts, though most attention has been on the labels applied to tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump. Twitter also said it would label tweets that falsely claim a win for any candidate.

The company announced several temporary steps to slow amplification of content: for example, from Oct. 20 to at least the end of the U.S. election week, global users pressing “retweet” will be directed first to the “quote tweet” button to encourage people to add their own commentary.

It will also stop surfacing trending topics without added context, and will stop people seeing “liked by” recommendations from people they do not know in their timeline.

Twitter’s decision to hit the brakes on automated recommendations contrasts with the approach at Facebook Inc , which is amping up promotion of its groups product despite concerns about extremism in those spaces.

Social media companies are under pressure to combat election-related misinformation and prepare for the possibility of violence or poll place intimidation around the Nov. 3 vote.

Reuters has reported that Republicans are mobilizing thousands of volunteers to watch early voting sites and ballot drop boxes to find evidence to back up Trump’s unsubstantiated complaints about widespread voter fraud.

On Wednesday, Facebook said it would ban calls for poll watching using “militarized language.”

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