The world’s window into the European election conversation

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

This May, millions of citizens from across the European Union’s (EU) 27 Member States will have their say on the future political complexion of the European Parliament. The second largest democratic exercise of its kind in the world in 2019, the European elections will have a major impact on the region’s geopolitical outlook and priorities for the next five years.

Twitter is committed to serving the public conversation around this major global event. As a real-time, live service, we seek to be the world’s window into the critical conversations happening right across Twitter between candidates, voters, journalists, political parties and groups, civil society, and electoral commissions. We’re already working proactively to support and protect these conversations, and today we’re detailing some of the additional steps we’re taking ahead of #EUElections2019.

Expanding our political campaigning ads policy across all Member States
Our political campaigning ads policy is being expanded to cover #EUElections2019, providing the general public with an additional layer of insight into who is running a political campaign ad on Twitter. The policy, which is also being expanded into India and Australia today, means that an ad endorsing a party or a candidate will be viewable in our Ads Transparency Center, where you will be able to see details such as billing information, ad spend, and impressions data per Tweet. Additionally, we will be showing demographic targeting data for the ads being served. The ads will exist indefinitely within the Transparency Center, where they are viewable by anyone in the world, regardless of whether or not they own a Twitter account.

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In addition to the information being shared within the Ads Transparency Center itself, we are making it clearer who is advertising European political campaign content on Twitter by including a visual label and disclaimer information on promoted content from certified accounts. This will allow users to easily identify political campaign ads and to know who paid for them.

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To qualify for the policy, candidates, organisations, and individuals seeking to advertise political campaigning content must now undergo a thorough certification process. Once proof of identity is verified, and advertisers meet our eligibility requirements, a letter with an access code will be posted to their address to confirm they are located within the EU. This will ensure that only EU-based individuals can advertise political campaign content on the service.

Enforcement of this policy will begin on 11 March, after which only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on our service. Political advertisers must apply now for certification and go through every step of the process. Guidelines for political advertisers can be found here.

We will expand this policy to country-level elections in the future, as our teams continue to develop their operational and tooling support.

Cross-functional European elections team
In addition to increased transparency around political ads, we’ve also formed a high-level internal elections group to lead our electoral integrity work in the region from now until polling day. Using our proprietary-built internal tools, the team will proactively protect the integrity of regional trends, support partner escalations, and identify potential threats from malicious actors.

Cross-functional by design, the team consists of several of the company’s top trust and safety experts, as well as members of our site integrity, legal, engineering, data science investigations, and our public policy teams in Europe. This blend of perspectives, expertise and backgrounds is absolutely critical.

It also mirrors the model we put in place for the internal teams who directed our proactive efforts during recent elections in Germany, Sweden, Mexico, the US, and Brazil. As we move forward, we will continue with this model of bringing in additional expertise and personnel who can augment our approach, growing the experience level from one critical election to the next.

Promoting media literacy and healthy campaigning on Twitter
In the coming weeks and months, our public policy team across Europe will ramp up their engagement with political parties and the EU’s local Member State offices to arrange Twitter trainings, distribute media literacy resources, and to promote healthy, constructive participation in the democratic process.

We’ll continue to identify candidates for verification, amplify campaigns that encourage voter participation and launch a special election emoji to encourage engagement and conversation. We’ll provide updates on this work when we have more information.

Further recent election integrity efforts by Twitter include:

  • Signing up to the EU Code of Conduct on Disinformation, and forming a global partnership with @UNESCO to promote better media literacy among citizens.
  • Introducing new policies on fake accounts and hacked materials, and updating our spam reporting flow to enable the public to provide more granular information when reporting to us.
  • Donating to the @DisinfoEU, @AtlanticCouncil and @NDI, all of which are doing meaningful work on #EUElections2019.
  • Empowering independent research of foreign influence campaigns in places like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela to develop a shared understanding of these threats and tactics.

As the world’s window into the public conversation around #EUElections2019, Twitter is prepared to play its part in enhancing access to healthy democratic discourse.



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