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Twitter may remove unverified election result claims

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Sep 11, 2020 - 08:16 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter said Thursday it may remove unverified postings claiming electoral victory as part of a stepped-up effort to protect democracy, less than two months ahead of the US presidential vote.

The social media firm said that under a new policy in effect from next week, “we will label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process.”

This will include “false or misleading information that causes confusion about the laws and regulations of a civic process,” as well as “disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process itself, e.g. unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results.”

The move comes amid rising concerns about when results will be verified for the November 3 presidential election, in view of an expected large volume of mail-in ballots and criticism of that process by President Donald Trump.

The new policy also bans “misleading claims about the results” or interference with the electoral process such as “claiming victory before election results have been certified, inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession.”

Some analysts have suggested that Trump, who has a large social media following, may reject the results of the election or refuse to leave office if he loses.

The move by Twitter comes with social media firms facing pressure to deal with Trump’s posts, which critics say could undermine the voting process, including his questioning the validity of mail-in ballots.

Both Twitter and Facebook have placed labels on Trump comments about mail-in voting.

The Twitter Safety team said it expects to take a strict approach to the updated policies.

“We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections,” the company said.

“Any attempt to do so — both foreign and domestic — will be met with strict enforcement of our rules, which are applied equally and judiciously for everyone.”

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