Twitter Makes Changes Ahead of 2020 US Election



Twitter announced additional, significant product and enforcement updates that it says will increase context and encourage more thoughtful consideration before tweets are amplified. I believe that certain US politicians are going to become irate about these changes. Overall, I think these changes will be beneficial to most people who use Twitter.

Financial Times reported that these changes come weeks before Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook head Mark Zuckerburg are due to testify before the Senate commerce committee as part of a review of Section 230, which gives them immunity from being sued over content that they publish.

Previous to these changes, Twitter already implemented policy that does not allow anyone on Twitter to manipulate or interfere in elections or other civic processes.

They have expanded that policy:

  • People on Twitter, including candidates for office, may not claim an election win before it is authoritatively called. To determine the results of an election in the US, Twitter require either an announcement from state 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.
  • Tweets meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal. This covers all Congressional races and the Presidential Election.
  • Starting next week, when people attempt to Retweet one of the tweets with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information about the topic before they are able to amplify it. Tweets with labels are already de-amplified through Twitter’s recommendation systems, and these new prompts will give individuals more context on labeled Tweets so they can make informed decisions on whether they want to amplify it to their followers.
  • Additional warnings and restrictions will be added on tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement. People must tap through a warning to see these Tweets, and then will only be able to Quote Tweet. Likes, Retweets, and replies will be turned off, and these tweets won’t be recommended on Twitter.
  • Beginning on October 20 and continuing through the end of Election week in the US, Twitter will prompt people to Quote Tweet instead of Retweet. Twitter hopes it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people will add their own thoughts, reactions, and perspectives to the conversation.

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