Implementing significant product policy, enforcement updates for assembly elections 2021: Twitter

Microblogging platform Twitter said on Wednesday that with the assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry a few days away, it is implementing ‘significant’ product, policy, and enforcement updates that have been drawn based on learnings from previous elections, both globally and in India.

Twitter said a global cross-functional team with local, cultural, and language expertise will run its election integrity work and their role involves keeping the service safe from attempts to manipulate the platform and content that can incite violence, abuse and threats and trigger the risk of offline harm.

The company said it has deployed tools backed by technology to detect and surface abusive content more efficiently and added that the content that’s most likely to cause harm is prioritised for review by its team of specialists to determine whether the content violates the Twitter rules.

  • All
  • West Bengal
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Assam
  • Kerala
  • Puducherry

  • In a blog post on Wednesday, the company said that its approach to tackling misinformation is ‘multi-layered’ and prioritised based on the highest potential for harm at a policy, enforcement, and product level. “Our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter while limiting the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content. In the context of these elections, we are focussed on civic integrity and synthetic and manipulated media,” the company stated.

    Twitter said it will remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about procedures to participate in the election process, false information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the elections and voting, such as misleading claims that polling places are closed; that polling has ended, or other misleading information relating to votes not being counted, and accounts that misrepresent their affiliation with a political candidate or party.

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    In order for content to be labeled or removed under its synthetic and manipulated media policy, the company said it must have reason to believe that media, or the context in which media are presented, are significantly and deceptively altered or manipulated. It will label synthetic and manipulated media and link it to a Twitter moment to give people additional context and surface-related conversations so they can make ‘more informed’ decisions on the content they want to engage with or amplify.

    The platform said it has ‘zero’ tolerance for platform manipulation and spam and that it will continue to strengthen measures against attempted manipulation including malicious automated accounts and spam as well as other activities that violate its terms of service. It said inauthentic engagement, which includes things like selling/purchasing Tweet or account metric inflation (like retweets, likes, mentions, Twitter Poll votes), is a violation and it will take action on accounts that engage in this behavior, which may include permanent suspension.

    In terms of political advertising, which the company banned in 2019, Twitter said it is taking proactive measures to prevent prohibited political advertising through comprehensive and nuanced enforcement mechanisms. These include identifying and blocking ads from referenced candidates, parties, and other election-related content.

    If users attempt to retweet tweets with a synthetic and manipulated media label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information. These Tweets won’t be algorithmically recommended by Twitter, which further reduces the visibility of misleading information, the company said.

    Twitter will also prevent certain terms that violate its rules from appearing in the trends section, besides an events page dedicated to the assembly elections on voting days and for the election results day. “The page will include a timeline of Tweets from credible accounts to provide the latest information on the days of voting and election results. These will be visible to account holders in India in the Explore Tab, and will provide continuous updates and context throughout the election period with multiple language videos from a variety of news partners in the carousel,” the company said.

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