Twitter to crack down on false victory claims during US election

12 Oct 2020

Image: © 3desc/

Twitter will not allow users to claim an election win before it is authoritatively announced by state election officials or national news outlets.

Ahead of the US presidential election next month, Twitter is tightening its rules on misleading information. In a blogpost last week, Twitter leads Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour outlined some of the additional steps that the social media platform is planning to take.

They said the platform has expanded its civic integrity policy to address how it will handle misleading information associated with the election. It plans to label tweets that falsely claim a win for any candidate and will remove tweets that encourage violence or call for people to interfere with election results or the smooth operation of polling places.

The company is taking similar steps to Facebook, which announced last week that it would suspend political advertising in the wake of the election in a bid to limit the spread of misinformation and would add more specific information to posts if a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets.

Twitter said that it will not allow users to claim an election win before the results are authoritatively called. This will be applicable to all Twitter users, including candidates.

To determine the results, the platform will need an announcement from state election officials or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets that make independent election calls. Tweets that include premature claims will be labelled accordingly and Twitter users will be directed to the company’s official US election page.

A smartphone displaying the Twitter app with a new notification about disputed information.

Image: Twitter

“Tweets meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal,” Gadde and Beykpour added. “This covers all congressional races and the presidential election.”

While Twitter currently labels tweets that violate the company’s policies against misleading information in regards to civic integrity, Covid-19 and synthetic or manipulated media, the company plans to increase its warnings in light of the upcoming election.

Now, when a user tries to retweet a post with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information about the topic before they are able to amplify it. Gadde and Beykpour said that tweets with these labels are already “de-amplified” through Twitter’s own recommendation systems.

“In addition to these prompts, we will now add additional warnings and restrictions on tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement,” they added.

Users will need to tap through a warning to see these tweets and only then will they be able to quote tweet. Likes, retweets and replies will be turned off and the tweets will not be algorithmically recommended by Twitter.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic