Odishatv Bureau

San Francisco: As the US presidential election inches closer, Twitter on Friday said it will add additional warnings and restrictions on tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement.

Twitter said that people must tap through a warning to see these Tweets, and then will only be able to Quote Tweet; likes, Retweets and replies will be turned off, and these Tweets won't be algorithmically recommended by Twitter.

Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead at Twitter, said that the company will label tweets that falsely claim a win for any candidate and will remove tweets that encourage violence or call for people to interfere with election results or the smooth operation of polling places.

People on Twitter, including candidates for office, may not claim an election win before it is authoritatively called.

"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," she explained.

Tweets which include premature claims will be labeled and direct people to our official US election page.

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"Tweets meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal. This covers all Congressional races and the Presidential Election," added Kayvon Beykpour, Product Lead, Twitter and Co-Founder, Periscope.

Starting next week, when people attempt to retweet tweets with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information about the topic before they are able to amplify it.

"First, we will encourage people to add their own commentary prior to amplifying content by prompting them to Quote Tweet instead of Retweet".

People who go to Retweet will be brought to the Quote Tweet composer where they'll be encouraged to comment before sending their Tweet.

"Second, we will prevent ‘liked by' and ‘followed by' recommendations from people you don't follow from showing up in your timeline and won't send notifications for these Tweets," Gadde noted.

Finally, Twitter will only surface Trends in the "For You" tab in the US that include additional context.

"That means there will be a description Tweet or article that represents or summarizes why that term is trending," Beykpour informed.

Attempt To Influence US Elections Traced On Twitter: Report

A coordinated effort on Twitter to influence the upcoming US presidential election aims to sow distrust, exacerbate political divisions and undermine confidence in American democracy, according to a new report from non-profit RAND Corporation.

The tactics the researchers observed on Twitter mirror Russia's longstanding strategy of playing off existing partisan tensions to create a sense of disunity among US voters, and they also further Russia's interests, claimed the report.

The researchers, however, could not definitively attribute this year's election interference to a specific actor.

"Social media has made it cheaper and easier for foreign actors to mount increasingly sophisticated attacks on our democracy and our political discourse," said William Marcellino, the study's lead author and a social and behavioural scientist at RAND.

"Many Americans are immersed in online conversations that have been shaped artificially, and that are giving them a false and distorted picture of the world."

The RAND report is the second of a four-part series intended to help policymakers and the public understand - and mitigate - the threat of online foreign interference in national, state and local elections.

The first report concluded that the main goal of foreign interference is to paralyse the American political process by driving people to extreme positions that make it ever more difficult to reach consensus.

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The latest study used software tools developed by RAND to analyse a very large dataset of 2.2 million tweets from 630,391 unique Twitter accounts collected between January 1 and May 6.

The analysis found that trolls -- fake personas that spread hyper-partisan themes -- and super-connectors, which are highly networked accounts, overwhelmingly cluster in certain Twitter communities engaged in political conversations around the election.

This orchestrated activity may have worked in favour of President Donald Trump, and against the candidacy of Joe Biden, according to the report.

(IANS)

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