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Twitter remains 'vigilant' in protecting 'integrity' of election conversation, flags 300K tweets as misleading

Twitter again censors Trump

Blocks tweets by campaign, allies

Twitter is remaining “vigilant” to protect the integrity of the conversation surrounding the 2020 Election – almost a week after President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner – while touting their work in blocking misleading information on the platform.

Twitter, on Thursday, released an update on their work around the 2020 U.S. elections, saying that they are “still seeing record levels of election-related conversation on Twitter” and said their team is continuing to “actively enforce our rules to protect the integrity of this public conversation.”

“We also want to be very clear that we do not see our job as done—our work here continues and our teams are learning and improving how we address these challenges,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global Legal, Policy, Trust & Safety Lead, and Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s product lead, wrote.

In the months leading up to the election, Twitter announced policy, enforcement and product changes “to add context, encourage thoughtful consideration, and reduce the potential for misleading information to spread on Twitter.”

Between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11, Twitter said that approximately 300,000 tweets were labeled under their Civic Integrity Policy for content that was disputed and potentially misleading. Twitter noted that those tweets represented just 0.2% of all U.S. election-related tweets sent during that time.

More than a dozen of those tweets belonged to President Trump.

“Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed,” one Twitter notice on Trump's tweet read.

Trump and many of his supporters have gone on Twitter tirades since Election Day as votes continue to be counted in the battleground states of Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and the president's leads have dwindled or vanished. The president and his team have promoted unfounded claims that those states are engaging in voter fraud, illegally counting ballots cast after Election Day and refusing to allow poll watchers close enough to observe the proceedings.

Several flagged tweets included video clips of Trump's press conference on last week, where he claimed, without evidence, that Democrats were trying to steal the election from him. In others, he declared himself the winner, despite votes in at least three states still being counted, and in one, he said, "STOP THE FRAUD!" 

TWITTER MARKS 12 TRUMP TWEETS AS 'MISLEADING' IN 60 HOURS

But a source familiar with Twitter’s actions during election week also told Fox News that the platform took action against a number of Democrats, and left-of-center politicians and pundits who tweeted misinformation around the election and premature claims of victory.

The source said many of the tweets referenced a “President-elect Biden,” despite the race, at the time, not having been called for Biden or Trump.

The platform flagged a number of tweets, including from former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, the co-founder of the Democratic Coalition Scott Dworkin, president for the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden, the chair of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, among others.

The tweets were flagged with: “Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted,” and linked to Twitter’s official “Election Results” page.

Meanwhile, Twitter on Thursday said they “got ahead of potentially misleading information” by showing Twitter users in the U.S. a series of “pre-bunk prompts.” The prompts were seen 389 million times, according to Gadde and Beykpour, and “reminded people that election results were likely to be delayed, and that voting by mail is safe and legitimate.”

“These enforcement actions remain part of our continued strategy to add context and limit the spread of misleading information about election processes around the world on Twitter,” they wrote.

Gadde and Beykpour also noted that they “encouraged people to add their own commentary when amplifying content by prompting Quote Tweets instead of Retweets.”

“This change introduced some friction, and gave people an extra moment to consider why and what they were adding to the conversation,” they wrote, noting that since making the change, Twitter observed a 23% decrease in retweets and a 26% increase in quote tweets.

“This change slowed the spread of misleading information by a virtue of an overall reduction int he amount of sharing on the service,” they said.

“We remain vigilant and will continue working to protect the integrity of the election conversation on Twitter,” they continued, noting that they will produce a “longer-form retrospective” of their work surrounding the election in 2021.

Twitter’s update on their 2020 Election work and findings comes weeks after CEO Jack Dorsey testified on Capitol Hill, as the platform had been under fire for "censoring" conservatives and some stories that Republicans believed to be harmful to Biden’s campaign.

TWITTER FLAGS TRUMP TWEET CLAIMING DEMOCRATS TRYING TO 'STEAL' ELECTION

For weeks leading up to Election Day, Republicans decried Twitter’s actions to lock the New York Post’s Twitter account, and prevent the spread of links to the outlet’s stories on Biden’s son, Hunter, and his overseas business dealings.

Dorsey, during his testimony, said the effort was due to a policy regarding hacked materials, because the stories were based on emails from Hunter Biden’s purported laptop.

Republicans have long claimed that Big Tech was biased against conservative viewpoints, with GOP lawmakers pushing for changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Republicans have questioned whether social media giants, including Twitter, should still be afforded liability protections under Section 230—a rule that shields social media companies from being held liable for content on their platforms, while allowing them to moderate that content.

Last month, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., co-sponsored legislation to reform Section 230 to better define what tech companies can censor and to disincentivize them from editorializing posts with warning labels and fact-checks, which has happened in recent months to Trump’s tweets, and others.

“Section 230 gave content providers protection from liability to remove and moderate content that they or their users consider to be ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable,'" Wicker said during the hearing last month. "This liability shield has been pivotal in protecting online platforms from endless and potentially ruinous lawsuits. But it has also given these internet platforms the ability to control, stifle, and even censor content in whatever manner meets their respective ‘standards.’ The time has come for that free pass to end.”

A Twitter spokesperson, last month, told Fox News that Dorsey is open to making changes to the rule, saying Section 230 should be made “more resilient and reflective of the realities of where the internet is now, nearly 25 years since the creation of the Communications Decency Act.”

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