Like most social media platforms, Twitter has consistently struggled to crack down on election interference. Recently, the company removed 10,000 accounts linked to targeted misinformation campaigns in preparation of the midterm elections, but more needs to be done.
This year, important elections are happening around the globe, including in India and the European Union. On Wednesday, Twitter announced its new feature to strengthen its approach to stopping deliberate attempts to mislead voters: a “misleading about voting” report option.
“Voting is a fundamental human right and the public conversation occurring on Twitter is never more important than during elections,” Twitter said. “Any attempts to undermine the process of registering to vote or engaging in the electoral process is contrary to our company’s core values.”
The option will be ingrained into the pre-existing structure for reporting tweets. Twitter Safety — the company’s account dedicated to safety updates — showed off the new feature in a tweet.
Public conversation on Twitter is never more important than during elections. Today, we’re launching a new reporting feature to tackle deliberate attempts to mislead about voting. We’ll start with #LokSabhaElections2019 & #EUelections2019 https://t.co/rDdEwX3FcR pic.twitter.com/jrLOc3k1hC
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 24, 2019
The feature will go live in India before the country’s elections on April 25 and then in the European Union on April 29. Twitter says it plans to roll out to other elections globally throughout the rest of the year.
Twitter and other tech platforms have faced increasing pressure from the European Union to get rid of misinformation ahead of the elections. Last year, the European Commission (EC) had major tech companies and ad platforms sign up to follow a Code of Practice on disinformation.
The latest progress report — published yesterday — covers actions taken by platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google through March 2019.
The EC noted more needed to be done, warning, “Further technical improvements as well as sharing of methodology and data sets for fake accounts are necessary to allow third-party experts, fact-checkers and researchers to carry out independent evaluation.”
It’s hard to predict how well Twitter’s new tool will work — the company hasn’t always been the best at responding to reports. However, Twitter said, “Our teams have been trained and we recently enhanced our appeals process in the event that we make the wrong call.”