On Thursday, Twitter announced that it would label or remove misinformation aiming to undermine confidence in the US election, including posts claiming victory before results have been certified or inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.
Twitter mentioned in a blog post that the social media platform was updating its rules to recognize the changes in how people will vote in the November 3 election and try to protect against voter suppression and misleading content on its platform.
The widespread use of mail ballots in the US election due to the coronavirus pandemic will likely cause significant delays in tallying results, which some experts fear could allow misinformation to gain traction.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that voting by mail is susceptible to large-scale fraud.
The social media platform also said that it would label or remove misinformation creating confusion about the laws, regulations, and officials involved in civic processes, as well as disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process, such as unverified information about vote tallying or election rigging.
A Twitter spokesman said that whether content had particular falsehoods or could cause greater harm would determine if it would be removed, or labeled and have its reach reduced.
Social media companies have long been under pressure to fight misinformation after US intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, allegations Moscow has denied.
Since May, Twitter has attached warnings and fact-checking labels to Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots.
Twitter said its rules would be “applied equally and judiciously for everyone.” The new policy, which is global, will take effect on September 17.
On Thursday, Alphabet’s Google also announced that it would remove the function that tries to predict and complete search terms when people look up the status of voting locations, voting requirements, or methods, for example, “you can vote by phone” or “you can’t vote by phone”, though users will still be able to search for this information.
Google staff told reporters on a call that false information about election results, including reports claiming an early victory, would not show up on Google Search and that it would enforce its ads policy against demonstrably false claims that could undermine trust or participation in an election, including in the post-election period.
Last week, Facebook announced that it was creating a label for posts by candidates or campaigns that made premature claims of victory. It also said it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before Election Day.