President Trump claimed the presidential election may “never be accurately determined, which is what some want” because of mail-in voting in a tweet Thursday to which Twitter added a link to information on why “voting is safe and secure,” a step the company took, it explained in a tweet, because it determined that Trump’s post was “potentially misleading.
Trump has railed against mail-in voting in press briefings and on Twitter for months; Thursday he claimed the election results could be inaccurate because of the “new and unprecedented massive amounts of unsolicited ballots” sent to voters.
Twitter added more context, adding a link to an explainer that says voter fraud is “exceedingly rare” in the United States, that the United States Postal Service has said it is “well equipped” to deal with the large volume of mail and that a “small number” of mail-in ballots are rejected because voters forget to sign or miss key deadlines.
The social media network said September 10 that it would expand the types of voting-related content it removes or labels to include “false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence” in elections.
As part of the new guidelines, which went into effect Thursday, Twitter will label or remove tweets with “disputed claims that could undermine faith” in the election process, like “election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results.”
The policy targets misleading claims about election results which could lead to “interference with the implementation” of the results, including “claiming victory before election results have been certified” and “inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession.”
Twitter previously took action against several of Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting by requiring users to click through a notice that they violated the platform’s rules before reading them, but it said the expanded policy was informed by feedback that Twitter “shouldn’t determine the truthfulness of Tweets” and “should provide context to help people make up their own minds in cases where the substance of a Tweet is disputed.”
“In recognition of the changing circumstances of how people will vote in 2020, and in line with our commitment to protecting the integrity of the election conversation, we’re expanding this existing framework,” Twitter wrote in a blog post about the new guidelines. “The goal is to further protect against content that could suppress the vote and help stop the spread of harmful misinformation that could compromise the integrity of an election or other civic process.”
Social networks have been pushed to more stringently vet content about voting and elections in the lead-up to the November election, particularly as Trump continues to rail against mail-in voting. Facebook expanded its voter tools and announced a new research effort to audit its response to the presidential election while Twitter banned political ads entirely and expanded its Civic Integrity Policy.
Twitter’s expanded policy follows Facebook’s announcement that it will ban new political ads in the week before the election and expand its efforts against election misinformation, including labeling posts in which “a candidate or campaign tries to declare victory before the results are in.”