Twitter on Wednesday said it is adding a feature on its platform to allow users to easily report misleading content on voting and elections, as the microblogging firm stepped up efforts to tackle the menace of misinformation. Circulation of fake news on digital platforms like Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook has been a pain point, and the government has warned social media companies that any abuse of these platforms to influence electorate will not be tolerated.
A study in early April had claimed that one in two respondents have received fake news through digital platforms in the last 30 days. Twitter, in a statement Wednesday said, the new dedicated reporting feature is in addition to its “existing proactive approach to tackling malicious automation and other forms of platform manipulation on the service”.
“The platform will start with 2019 Lok Sabha (polls) in India (April 25) and the European Parliament (April 29) elections and then roll out to other elections globally throughout the rest of the year,” it added. Twitter said the violation that can be flagged include misleading information about how to vote or register to vote. Citing an example, Twitter said this could be instances like content that claims one can vote by tweet, text message, email, or phone call.
Users can also report misleading information about requirements for voting, including identification requirements, or wrong information pertaining to the date or time of election. Users can choose ‘report tweet’ from the drop down menu in the app and select “it’s misleading about voting”, followed by opting for the choice that best describes how the tweet is misleading about voting and then submitting the report. The reporting feature would be available for desktop users as well.
“Voting is a fundamental human right and the public conversation occurring on Twitter is never more important than during elections. Any attempts to undermine the process of registering to vote or engaging in the electoral process is contrary to the company’s core values,” Twitter said.
Over the past many weeks, social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google have stepped up election safety efforts, inducing transparency in political ads, roping in an army of fact-checkers and commissioning tools to weed out content that is flagged to be false.
Twitter had drawn flak over allegations of political bias and earlier this year, a Parliamentary Panel in India had asked the US-based company to ensure that the Lok Sabha polls are not influenced by foreign entities. The House panel had also asked Twitter to address issues like political bias on a real-time basis after which the platform agreed to appoint a nodal officer to work closely with the Election Commission. Twitter has maintained it is committed to remaining unbiased and that its products, as well as policies, are never based on political ideology.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.