Twitter’s new set of temporary changes is a way to prevent misinformation and propaganda around the upcoming election

In modern times, social media platforms play a crucial role by influencing people and having an impact on their decisions and their lives. Twitter is one of the most widely used platforms that has not only proved to play an important role in empowering conversations revolving around democracy, but Twitter also drives participation from millions of its users around the globe by giving them the liberty to express their thoughts and engage in meaningful debates across the platform.

However, sometimes these debates and conversations may have a negative impact. In the past, many election campaigns got affected because of un-checked tweets and other posts on various social media platforms.

Now that the US General Election is just around the corner, Twitter has decided to take some matters into its hand and on 9th October 2020, Twitter officially announced several new, but temporary changes that will be implemented on the platform before the election. These changes are expected to add more context and encourage more thoughtfulness from people before they amplify different tweets related to political parties, campaigns, elections results, etc. This is an effort to curb down misinformation and propaganda regarding the election over the platform.

Some of the important changes that will occur include the following:

Tweets that will make premature or falsified claims of victory will all be labeled as disputed and misleading.

The option of ‘Retweet’ will be put off and users will be encouraged to Quote a tweet instead so that they can add their thoughts about that particular issue. This is to encourage people to stop and think before just retweeting a post and share their thoughts with others rather than just slinging off a group of random, misinforming tweets. People who still would not add their comments may be retweeting the posts anyway, but the legitimacy of their retweets will be questionable. However, if someone tries to retweet an already labeled tweet, they will receive a prompt from Twitter that will redirect them towards credible information sources to prevent them from sharing misinformation.

All the tweets that will be deemed as inciting interference in the election campaigns or the election results will be removed by Twitter.

All the prominent political figures who have more than 100,000 followers- their tweets will be made more difficult to access to avoid any kind of influence on the voters’ minds that may have an impact on their voting decision.

The ‘Liked by,’ and ‘Followed by’ recommendations will be turned off for people who do not follow a user. This is perhaps going to control unknown, irrelevant, and misleading people from negatively influencing users.

For the US users, the ‘For You’ tab will provide all the trending topics.

Twitter has already started labeling tweets that violate its rules, or are manipulative, or are maybe a threat to the civic and election integrity or spread false news about voting-by-mail.
Read next: Twitter’s new ‘Birdwatch’ feature is aimed to combat misinformation and to provide more context for tweets in the form of ‘Notes’
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