Monday, September 26, 2022

Twitter will fight misinformation in US midterms with notification changes

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Twitter is both reviving and improving its election misinformation strategy ahead of the 2022 US midterms. The social network has reactivated enforcement of its Civic Integrity Policy to prepare for the vote, and there are a handful of upgrades in store this year. To begin, it will avoid recommending misleading tweets through notifications — falsehoods might not spread as much as in the past. The company is considering this approach for “other surfaces,” too.

You should also see redesigned fact-check labels that are better at prompting people to read. Twitter first tested these labels in late 2021.

Other efforts will be more familiar. You already see candidate labels for any Governor, House or Senate hopeful who qualified for the general election ballot. You can expect “prebunks” that counter bogus claims before they become hot topics. You’ll find a dedicated US Elections tab in Explore, along with state-specific hubs. Twitter plans to ramp up protection for candidates as well, with “more sophisticated” detection of suspicious activity as well as more login safeguards and speedier account recovery should the worst happen.

These aren’t dramatic changes to Twitter’s methods from previous elections, including those outside the US. However, it’s clear the firm is bracing for trouble in light of the fallout from 2020. The question is whether or not this will be enough. Critics warned of shortcomings in social media companies’ anti-misinformation efforts during the previous elections, and tweaks to recommendations and labels aren’t guaranteed to address those issues.

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