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Assembly polls: Twitter updates policy; to block fake news, tweets spreading violence

Twitter will remove content that interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about procedures to participate in polls. Twitter says its users may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated information that is likely to cause harm

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | March 24, 2021 | Updated 15:52 IST
Assembly polls: Twitter updates policy; to block fake news, tweets spreading violence
Twitter to launch events page dedicated to assembly polls on voting and result days

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Twitter to remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections
  • Twitter will label synthetic and manipulated media
  • Action to be taken against accounts indulging in inauthentic engagement
  • Twitter to launch events page dedicated to assembly polls on voting and result days

Updating its policy for upcoming assembly elections in India, social media giant Twitter said it'll remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections and that's "false" or contains "misleading information". The policy update takes into account the cultural context and complexities of the country to encourage healthy, informed, and vibrant civic dialogue. In October last year, Twitter had banned all political advertising globally.

Twitter says it is committed to empowering democratic conversations, facilitating meaningful political debate, and driving civic participation during elections. The updates include implementing significant product, policy, and enforcement updates, which have been drawn based on learning from previous elections, both globally and in India.

Also read: West Bengal Election 2021: Voting dates, poll full schedule, timings, election results, all FAQs

Under its civic integrity policy, Twitter will remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about procedures to participate in the election process. It will also block false information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the elections and voting. For example, claims such as "polling places are closed", "polling has ended", or other misleading information relating to counting of votes will be blocked.

Twitter said its users may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. Twitter will label "synthetic and manipulated media" and link it to a Twitter Moment to give people additional context and surface-related conversations so they can make more informed decisions on the content they want to engage with or amplify.

Also read: New policy for social media, OTT platforms: Key highlights

Besides, action will be taken against accounts that indulge in inauthentic engagement such as selling/purchasing Tweets or account metric inflation (like retweets, likes, mentions, Twitter poll votes) and the violation may lead to permanent suspension, the company said.

Twitter is also taking extra steps to ensure people have the context to what's trending and will include a representative Tweet, Twitter Moment or description of the top trends. Twitter will also launch an 'events page' dedicated to the Assembly elections 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. These will be visible to account holders in India in the Explore Tab, and will provide continuous updates and context throughout the election period with multiple language videos from a variety of news partners in the carousel.

While banning political advertising globally last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had tweeted saying: "We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought." Twitter believes that a political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimised and targeted political messages on people. And this decision should not be compromised by money. "This isn't about free expression."

Also read: BJP manifesto for Bengal elections: Emphasis on women's safety, infra development, healthcare, says Amit Shah

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