Twitter serves the global, public conversation, and protecting the integrity of the conversation around elections is an essential part of our mission.
As we lead into the #TaiwanElection, we'd like to take this opportunity to share some updates on the work we've been doing to protect and enhance the health of the public conversation at this pivotal cultural and political moment.
Protecting the integrity of the #TaiwanElection conversation on Twitter
Updating the Twitter Rules
The Twitter Rules are a living document meaning that our policies and enforcement options evolve continuously to address emerging behaviors online.
Our Election Integrity Policy prohibits any attempt to interfere with the electoral process by undermining the physical act of voting, or registering to vote. This applies to the distribution of false or misleading information about the electoral process or when or how to vote. We also have policies to address other behaviours that can appear during elections such as platform manipulation and spam (including fake accounts), and the distribution of hacked materials.
Our policies prohibit news media entities controlled by state authorities from purchasing advertisements on Twitter. We also recently announced a ban on all political advertising globally on Twitter. We made this decision based on our belief that political message reach should be earned, not bought.
Training political partners on using Twitter and our reporting channels
During elections, we work closely with political parties from across the political spectrum to train them on using Twitter to best engage with their constituents. In preparation for the #TaiwanElection, we onboarded and held trainings for both the Democratic Progressive Party and the Kuomintang.
We launched a dedicated, elections-specific support portal for election partners to provide feedback directly to us about issues and concerns that could arise during the 2020 #TaiwanElection. This process is designed to ensure we receive and review critical feedback about emerging issues as quickly as possible. We have trained the Central Election Commission of Taiwan and law enforcement agencies on using these channels to report suspicious, abusive, and rule-violating activity to Twitter.
Fighting platform manipulation and spam
Platform manipulation and spam are clear violations of the Twitter Rules and we continue to invest intensively to identify and combat bad-faith actors who try to manipulate the service - particularly around the time of elections.
We use technology to fight platform manipulation strategically and at scale. This lets us tackle attempts to manipulate conversations rapidly, across languages and time zones, without relying on reactive reports - often before accounts have even issued their first Tweet.
We continue to make strong progress and in the first half of 2019, challenged almost 100 million accounts. As part of our efforts in this space, we will disclose datasets associated with coordinated malicious activity that we are able to reliably associate with state-affiliated actors on our Data Disclosure Hub.
Sharing our approach to election-related misinformation
We spoke at the first APAC Fact Checking Forum hosted by the Taiwan Fact Checking Center in October, alongside industry peers, on Twitter’s approach to election-related dis- and misinformation. We shared details on our proactive technological approach, leveraging machine learning and human review to tackle spammy, inauthentic behaviour proactively.
Empowering the public conversation
During any election, Twitter is the place where people go to see what’s happening, participate in the conversation, and virtually join the campaign trail.
Launching a custom #TaiwanElection emoji
To unite people around the election conversation on Twitter, we launched a custom election emoji that will run for the duration of the campaign. The emoji incorporates a common voting symbol in Taiwan and will be activated by bilingual hashtags #TaiwanElection, #TaiwanVotes, #Taiwan2020, #台灣選舉, and #台灣投票. We hope the emoji will be a valuable visual link to help promote the discoverability of the election conversation.
Engaging with partners
We onboarded, trained, and gave #AdsForGoods grants to civil society groups including the Taiwan Fact Checking Center, the Taiwan Alliance for the Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare, and Taiwan Citizen Congress Watch.
The public conversation on Twitter is never more important than during elections, the cornerstone of any democracy. Twitter shows the world what is happening, democratises access to information and—at its best—provides insights into a diversity of perspectives on critical issues in real-time.
We deeply respect the integrity of the election conversation, and are committed to providing a service that fosters and facilitates free and open democratic debate.