Twitter on Wednesday put out a statement stating that it implemented updates to product, policy, and enforcement ahead of the Assembly Elections 2021 in Indian states, based on learnings from previous elections held globally and in India.
Elections are upcoming in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry. Last year, the Election Commission of India warned social media platforms that they would forfeit safe harbour if they did not make adequate arrangements to safeguard against platform misuse.
Steps Twitter has taken to ensure a free and fair election
- Expanded team – The new global cross-functional team now has members who have local cultural and language expertise and will be better able to ensure election integrity.
- Investments in technology – Twitter has continued investing in technology to detect abusive content more efficiently and prioritize it for review.
- Civic integrity policy – Twitter began enforcing its civic integrity policy which allows it to remove any content that manipulates or interferes with the conduct of a free and fair election. This includes removing content that contains misleading or false information about election procedure, polling times, vote numbers, etc.
- Synthetic and manipulated media – Twitter will label any media that it believes to be significantly and deceptively altered or manipulated and provide the user with additional context before letting them engage with it or amplify it. Such tweets will also not be algorithmically recommended by Twitter, reducing its views and reach.
- Platform manipulation – Any attempts to manipulate the platform through spam/bot accounts, coordinated activity, and inauthentic engagement by paying for likes, retweets or poll votes will be considered as serious violations and the accounts engaging in such behaviour are eligible to be permanently suspended.
- Ban on political ads – Twitter’s ban on political ads, introduced in 2019, will stay and the platform will proactively prevent parties and politicians from sidestepping this ban.
- Adding context to Trends – Twitter will provide context to any trending term by including a representative tweet, Twitter Moment or description and terms that are prohibited by the platform’s rules will not feature in trending.
- Dedicated event page – On the election voting and result days, an event page dedicated to the election will feature a timeline of events from credible accounts. This will provide users with more information on the elections as it is happening.
- Election information prompts – Twitter will provide users with election information prompts that contains the latest information from credible sources in six languages: Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Hindi, and English. These prompts are designed to help users find information like candidate lists, voting dates, polling booths, and EVM voter registration among other election-related information.
In additions to highlighting the steps it has taken, Twitter has also requested users to think before they share and not to share something they are not sure about.
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