As the upcoming assembly elections in India are fast approaching, microblogging platform Twitter announced that it has implemented significant product, policy, and enforcement updates to keep the service safe from attempts to manipulate the platform.
With the 2021 Assembly Elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry a few days away, Twitter has shown its commitment towards “empowering democratic conversations, facilitating meaningful political debate, and driving civic participation during elections.”
Twitter stated that it has set up a global cross-functional team to keep the provide service safe from attempts to manipulate the platform and content that might incite violence, abuse, and threats and trigger the risk of offline harm.
In order to tackle the spread of misinformation with just a few days left to go to elections, Twitter in an official statement stated that its goal is to make it easy to find credible information on its platform while limiting the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content.
Detailing its new updated policy, Twitter said that it will be removing content that manipulates or interferes with elections, and is false or contains misleading information. It will be strictly monitoring content related to procedures for participating in the election process or any false information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the elections and voting. It will also look into accounts that misrepresent their affiliation with a political candidate or party.
Regarding manipulated content, Twitter said in its statement that it will label synthetic and manipulated media and link it to a Twitter Moment to give people additional context. The statement read, “Twitter has zero tolerance for platform manipulation and spam.”
It added, “We will continue to strengthen Twitter against attempted manipulation, including malicious automated accounts and spam. Inauthentic engagement, which includes things like selling/purchasing Tweet or account metric inflation (like Retweets, Likes, mentions, Twitter Poll votes), is a violation and we will take action on accounts that engage in this behaviour, which may include permanent suspension.”
Addressing the growing concern over political advertisements, Twitter said, “Political ads were banned in 2019. We believe that political message reach should be earned, not bought, bringing ads from political candidates and political parties to an endSteps include identifying and blocking ads from referenced candidates, parties, and other election-related content.”
It stated that people who might attempt to retweet tweets with a synthetic and manipulated media label will see a prompt pointing them to credible information, “These tweets won’t be algorithmically recommended by Twitter, which further reduces the visibility of misleading information.”
Ahead of the elections, Twitter also said that it will be launching an events page dedicated to polls on voting days and for the election results day. The page will include a timeline of tweets from credible accounts to provide the latest information on the days of voting and election results.
Assembly elections are being held in four states: Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, and the Union Territory of Puducherry from March 27 to April 29. The results for the same will be announced on May 2.