Twitter expands misinformation rules ahead of U.S. election

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc said on Thursday it would label or remove misinformation aiming to undermine confidence in the U.S. election, including posts claiming victory before results have been certified or inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.FILE PHOTO: The Twitter App loads on an iPhone in this illustration photograph taken in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo

Twitter said in a blog post it was updating its rules to recognize the changes in how people will vote in the Nov. 3 election and try to protect against voter suppression and misleading content on its platform.

The widespread use of mail ballots in the U.S. election due to the coronavirus pandemic will likely cause significant delays in tallying results, which some experts fear could allow misinformation to gain traction.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that voting by mail is susceptible to large-scale fraud.

Twitter also said it would also label or remove misinformation creating confusion about the laws, regulations and officials involved in civic processes, as well as disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process, such as unverified information about vote tallying or election rigging.

A Twitter spokesman said whether content had specific falsehoods or could cause greater harm would determine if it would be removed, or labeled and have its reach reduced.

Social media companies have long been under pressure to combat misinformation after U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 vote, allegations that Moscow has denied.

The companies have also been under scrutiny over their responses to inflammatory content posted by President Trump. Since May, Twitter has attached warnings and fact-checking labels to Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots.

Twitter said its rules would be “applied equally and judiciously for everyone.” The new policy, which is global, will take effect on Sept. 17.

Facebook Inc last week said it was creating a label for posts by candidates or campaigns that made premature claims of victory. It also said it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before Election Day.

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