Public conversation is critical during elections, and Twitter is where this unfolds. We are committed to empowering democratic conversations, facilitating meaningful political debate, and driving civic participation during elections. With the #AssemblyElections2021 in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry a few days away, we are implementing significant product, policy, and enforcement updates that have been drawn based on learning from previous elections, both globally and in India.
In the lead up to the elections we are sharing an update on our approach, which takes into account cultural context and complexities of the country, to encourage a healthy, informed, and vibrant civic dialogue on the service.
We expanded the team: A global cross-functional team with local, cultural, and language expertise will run our election integrity work. Their role is to keep the service safe from attempts to manipulate the platform and content that can incite violence, abuse, and threats and trigger the risk of offline harm.
Investment in infrastructure and technology: We continue to invest in technological solutions and have deployed tools backed by technology to detect and surface abusive content more efficiently. This way, the content that's most likely to cause harm is prioritised for review by our team of specialists to determine whether the content violates the Twitter Rules.
Our approach to tackling misinformation is multi-layered and prioritised based on the highest potential for harm at a policy, enforcement, and product level. Our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter while limiting the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content. In the context of these elections, we are focussed on Civic integrity and Synthetic and manipulated media.
Twitter Policies and enforcement
Enforcing our Civic integrity policy means we will remove content that manipulates or interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about (1) procedures to participate in the election process (2) false information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the elections and voting, such as misleading claims that polling places are closed; that polling has ended, or other misleading information relating to votes not being counted, and, (3) accounts that misrepresent their affiliation with a political candidate or party.
Synthetic and manipulated media can take many different forms and people can employ a wide range of technologies to produce these media. In order for content to be labeled or removed under this policy, we must have reason to believe that media, or the context in which media are presented, are significantly and deceptively altered or manipulated. We will label Synthetic and manipulated media and link it to a Twitter Moment to give people additional context and surface-related conversations so they can make more informed decisions on the content they want to engage with or amplify.
Twitter has zero tolerance for platform manipulation and spam. We will continue to strengthen Twitter against attempted manipulation, including malicious automated accounts and spam, as well as other activities that violate our Terms of Service. Inauthentic engagement, which includes things like selling/purchasing Tweet or account metric inflation (like Retweets, Likes, mentions, Twitter Poll votes), is a violation and we will take action on accounts that engage in this behavior, which may include permanent suspension. We haven’t observed any significant manipulation or interference and will continue to conduct proactive enforcement sweeps to detect instances of inauthentic and networked activity that may be associated with the elections.
Political Content policy for Ads: Twitter banned political ads in 2019, we believe that political message reach should be earned, not bought, bringing ads from political candidates and political parties to an end. We are taking proactive measures to prevent prohibited political advertising through comprehensive and nuanced enforcement mechanisms. These include identifying and blocking ads from referenced candidates, parties, and other election-related content.
Prompts and proactive enforcements: When people attempt to Retweet Tweets with a synthetic and manipulated media label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information. These Tweets won’t be algorithmically recommended by Twitter, which further reduces the visibility of misleading information.
Adding context to Trends: We are taking extra steps to ensure people have context to what’s trending for them and will include a representative Tweet, Twitter Moment or description to the top trends. As explained in our Help Center, there are rules for trends and we will prevent certain terms that violate our Rules from appearing in the Trends section.
Event Page: We will be launching an events page dedicated to the Assembly elections on voting days and for the election results day. The page will include a timeline of Tweets from credible accounts to provide the latest information on the days of voting and election results. These will be visible to account holders in India in the Explore Tab, and will provide continuous updates and context throughout the election period with multiple language videos from a variety of news partners in the carousel.
As the elections conversation continues to evolve on Twitter, here are some points to remember when using the service:
If you're not sure about something, don’t share it. Sharing low quality or untrustworthy information only serves to spread it further. This is particularly important in a crisis where there is a real risk of physical harm. Remember to #ThinkBeforeYouShare or #SochKeShareKaro. More guidance can be found here.
Use the election information prompt to stay updated with the latest information about elections from credible sources. Now available in six languages including Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Hindi, and English, the prompt will help you find credible and authoritative information about candidate lists, voting dates, polling booths, and EVM voter registration among other election-related information.
We strongly encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the Twitter Rules. If you see something that violates the Twitter Rules, report it. To report a Tweet, click the dropdown menu at the top of the Tweet. More information can be found here.
Customise your experience on Twitter. You can unfollow accounts, block them from being able to follow you, and mute accounts, words, conversations, phrases, usernames, hashtags and even emojis. You can disable direct messages, and filter your notifications. More information about these and other safety features can be found here.
Our work to protect the integrity of the election conversation on Twitter continues, and our teams are working everyday, to learn and improve how we do it.