Facebook, Twitter Step Up Fight Against Misinformation on US Elections

Social media platforms stepped up fight against misinformation on the US elections, with Facebook starting a hub to help users with poll-related resources and Twitter expanding rules against misinformation on mail-in ballots and early voting.

The move comes as online social networks have been drawing flak for what has been called a lax approach to fake news reports and misinformation campaigns, which many believe affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter’s move will involve coming up with new policies “that emphasise accurate information about all available options to vote, including by mail and early voting.”

“We’re focused on empowering every eligible person to register and vote through partnerships, tools and new policies,” Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s vice president for public policy in the Americas, told Reuters in an email.

Facebook, meanwhile, launched a Voting Information Center to help users with accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live.

The company said in a blog it was also speaking with officials about misinformation surrounding election results as an emerging threat.

Twitter said it would roll out measures on new tools, policies and voting resources in the next month. It is exploring how to expand its “civic integrity policies” to address mischaracterisations of mail-in voting and other procedures.

The finer details of the step are still being finalised.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that voting by mail, which is expected to increase dramatically due to the coronavirus outbreak, is susceptible to large-scale fraud.

The process is not new in the United States — nearly one in four voters cast 2016 presidential ballots that way.

Many experts have said that routine methods and the decentralised nature of US elections make it very hard to interfere with mailed ballots.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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