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An update on our elections integrity work

We are committed to improving the health of the public conversation on Twitter and protecting the integrity of elections is an essential part of that mission.

Ahead of upcoming elections, today we are sharing updates across three critical areas of our election integrity efforts: (1) Updates to the Twitter Rules (2) Detection and Enforcement; and (3) Product Improvements.

 

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Updates to the Twitter Rules

We have updated the Twitter Rules to provide clearer guidance around several key issues:

  • Fake accounts: We have heard feedback that people think our rules about spam and fake accounts only cover common spam tactics like selling fake goods. As platform manipulation tactics continue to evolve, we are updating and expanding our rules to better reflect how we identify fake accounts, and what types of inauthentic activity violate our guidelines. We now may remove fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviors. Some of the factors that we will take into account when determining whether an account is fake include:

        -Use of stock or stolen avatar photos

        -Use of stolen or copied profile bios

        -Use of intentionally misleading profile information, including profile location

  • Attributed activity: As per the Twitter Rules, if we are able to reliably attribute an account on Twitter to an entity known to violate the Twitter Rules, we will take action on additional accounts associated with that entity. We are expanding our enforcement approach to include accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts we have previously suspended for violating our rules.
  • Distribution of hacked materials: Our rules prohibit the distribution of hacked material that contains private information or trade secrets, or could put people in harm’s way. We are also expanding the criteria for when we will take action on accounts which claim responsibility for a hack, which includes threats and public incentives to hack specific people and accounts. Commentary about a hack or hacked materials, such as news articles discussing a hack, are generally not considered a violation of this policy.

Detection and enforcement

We have seen positive results from our investments in conversational health and information integrity:

  • We continue to enforce our rules against intentionally misleading election-related content. In August, we removed approximately 50 accounts misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties. We have also taken action on Tweets sharing media regarding elections and political issues with misleading or incorrect party affiliation information. We continue to partner closely with the RNC, DNC, and state election institutions to improve how we handle these issues.
  • In August, we removed 770 accounts engaging in coordinated behavior which appeared to originate in Iran. Our investigation into this activity continues, and we will share further updates on our findings with law enforcement, our industry peers, and the public.
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  • Our automated detections continue to identify and challenge millions of potentially spammy and automated accounts per week. In the first half of September, we challenged an average of 9.4 million accounts each week.
  • As a result of our proactive detections and enforcements, we have continued to see a decline in the average number of spam-related reports we receive from users each day — from an average of approximately 17,000 per day in May, to approximately 16,000 per day in September.
  • In July, we introduced a new registration process for developers requesting access to our APIs, intended to prevent the registration of spammy and low quality apps. While we continue to proactively identify and remove malicious applications — suspending, on average, approximately 30,000 applications each month as a result of these efforts — we continue to make it more difficult for these apps to operate in the first place.
  • We are continuing to roll out improvements to our proactive enforcements against common policy violations, including building new proprietary systems to identify and remove ban evaders at speed and scale.

 

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Product developments

Finally, we continue to make improvements to the Twitter product to help people stay informed and to see the best content first:

  • We heard feedback that people want an easy way to see the most recent Tweets in their home timeline. We recently updated the timeline personalization setting to allow people to select a strictly reverse-chronological experience, without recommended content and recaps. This ensures you have more control of how you experience what’s happening on our service.
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  • We are continuing to roll out new features to show people context about accounts on Twitter. In May, we launched an election labels beta for candidates in the 2018 US midterm elections. We are also going to send candidates a message prompt to ensure they have two-factor authentication enabled on their account so it is safe and secure.
  • We are offering electoral institutions increased support via an elections-specific support portal, which is designed to ensure we receive and review critical feedback about emerging issues as quickly as possible. We will continue to expand this program ahead of the elections and will provide information about the feedback we receive in the near future.
  • As part of our civic engagement efforts, we are building conversation around the hashtag #BeAVoter with a custom emoji, sending US-based users a prompt in their home timeline with information on how to register to vote, and drawing attention to these conversations and resources through the top US trend. This trend is being promoted by @TwitterGov, which will create even more access to voter registration information, including election reminders and an absentee ballot FAQ.

 

 

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@delbius

Del Harvey

‎@delbius‎ verified

VP, Trust and Safety, Twitter

@yoyoel

Yoel Roth

‎@yoyoel‎ verified

Head of Site Integrity, Twitter

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