Twitter has laid out its plan to combat misinformation in the upcoming November 8 midterm elections, but voting rights groups say that the plan is likely to fall short.
One of the many things that Twitter is doing is reintroducing its “Civic Integrity Policy” which first appeared in 2018. As part of the policy, content that is deemed misleading and can lead to dissuading voters or undermines voter confidence in the outcome of an election will be removed.
Similarly, it is going to introduce labels under the Twitter profiles of candidates running for office, provide an “Explore” tab which will contain information across local news, national news and information gathered from non-partisan organisations.
Evan Feeney who works at Color of Change, told Reuters, “We’re seeing the same patterns play out”, referencing the recent rise in divisive rhetoric that has taken over Twitter since the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, earlier this week.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have long been at the center of controversy regarding misinformation. Civil rights groups have accused them of doing little of stopping false content, and instead monetising said content for profit.
Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director at nonpartisan group Common Cause told Reuters that Twitter needs to focus on removing false and misleading content and simply labeling it is not enough.
Feeney told Reuters that the microblogging platform “has a responsibility and ability to stop misinformation at the source”. According to him, politicians and world leaders should be held to a higher standard when it comes to what they tweet.
While Twitter may lead the tech industry in transparency and visibility when it comes to showing how it combats misinformation and its effectiveness, there is much to be desired. Last year, the company solicited public input on what to do when world leaders violate rules, but has yet to provide an input, according to Evelyn Douek, who studies online speech regulation at the Stanford Law School.