Google, Twitter Take Further Steps to Curb Election Misinformation
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With just 53 days until the US presidential election, Google and Twitter are clamping down on the spread of misinformation.
Twitter plans to more aggressively label and hide inaccurate election-related posts, while Google said it will remove Autocomplete predictions that could mislead voters.
"You may not use Twitter's services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes," according to the company's updated Civic Integrity Policy. That includes posting or sharing content "that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process," i.e. voting and completing the census.
"The public conversation occurring on Twitter is never more important than during elections or other civic events. Any attempts to undermine the integrity of our service is antithetical to our fundamental rights and undermines the core tenets of freedom and expression, the value upon which our company is based," the Help Center article said. "We believe we have a responsibility to protect the integrity of those conversations from interference and manipulation."
Search engine Google is no different, vowing to remove Autocomplete predictions "that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party," Pandu Nayak, VP of Search, wrote in a blog post.
"We will also remove predictions that could be interpreted as a claim about participation in the election," he continued. "Like statements about voting methods, requirements, or the status of voting locations—or the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes, such as the security of the election."
That doesn't mean you can't still look up your nearest polling place or details about candidates. It just means Google won't try to finish your queries about voting by phone or donating to a political party.
"In a year when access to reliable information is more critical than ever—from COVID-19 to natural disasters to important moments of civic participation around the world—our longstanding commitment to quality remains at the core of our mission to make the world's information accessible and useful," Nayak said.
Google and Twitter last month joined half a dozen US tech firms in a pledge to continue "protecting the integrity" of the upcoming election. In a joint statement, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Reddit, Microsoft, Verizon Media, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Wikimedia Foundation promised to "stay vigilant" ahead of August's Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Facebook also launched its Voter Information Center—a "one-stop shop" for US citizens to "make their voices heard at the ballot box"—accessible via the Facebook and Instagram app menus. The social network is even going so far as to ban new political ads a week before Nov. 3, as well as dedicate more resources to weeding out fake news online.