US 2020 Election: Twitter to Place Warning Labels on Early Victory Claims


Twitter has outlined a plan for placing warning labels on tweets from US election candidates and campaigns that claim victory in advance of official results.

The move comes as the social network braces for what it has called an unusual election due to a high number of mail-in ballots that may cause a delay in final results.

Beginning on election night through the inauguration, Twitter said it would place warning labels such as “official sources called this election differently”, or “official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted”.

“To determine the results of an election in the US, we require either an announcement from state election officials, or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets that make independent election calls,” it added.

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U.S.-based accounts with over 100,000 followers and a significant engagement will also be considered for labeling.

Social media companies are under pressure to combat election-related misinformation and prepare for the possibility of violence or poll place intimidation around the November vote.

On Sunday, President Trump denied a report that he would declare victory on Tuesday if it looks like he’s “ahead” in key battleground states. However, he did criticise the counting of votes after election day, although it is standard procedure in the US.

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If Trump were to declare victory prematurely on Twitter – his favoured means of communication online – he may fall foul of the company’s policy.

In an updated blog, the company said it would consider state election officials and national news outlets such as ABC News, Associated Press, CNN and Fox News that have independent election decision desks as official sources for results.

At least two news outlets will need to independently project the results before a candidate can use Twitter to celebrate his or her win, the company said.

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Meanwhile, Facebook has also made plans to combat the spread of misinformation on election day. To prevent candidates from prematurely and inaccurately declaring victory, the company plans to add a notification at the top of News Feeds letting people know that no winner has been chosen until election results are verified by news outlets like Reuters and The Associated Press.

After the polls close, Facebook plans to suspend all political ads from circulating on the social network and its photo-sharing site, Instagram, to reduce misinformation about the election’s outcome.

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