Dec 12, 2019

Twitter will make it easier to identify political candidates

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is launching two initiatives that will help users better identify political candidates on its platform, the company announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It's an effort to curb misinformation, making it easier for users to find original sources of information.

What's happening: Twitter is partnering with Ballotpedia, a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia, to identify the official campaign Twitter accounts of candidates.

  • The company is bringing back "election labels," a feature it first launched during the 2018 midterms. Twitter says that in the week before Election Day in 2018, 13% of conversation on its platform about the midterms included a tweet with an election label.
  • Beginning this week, Twitter will start identifying candidates who qualify for the primary ballot for House, Senate and gubernatorial races with a verified badge.

Go deeper: Twitter adds candidate labels ahead of midterm elections

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The dangerous side of limiting Twitter replies

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter's plan to allow users to control who can reply to their posts, announced Wednesday, is largely welcome news for those who are routinely harassed on the service — including many people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks and other groups often targeted by online mobs.

Why it matters: It could create an even riper environment for misinformation — especially when combined with Twitter's policy of allowing elected officials' tweets to stand, even when they violate the rules that apply to other users.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

Why Twitter won't flag Trump's tweets on Iran

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's use of Twitter to threaten Iran brought renewed calls for CEO Jack Dorsey to take action to limit the president's use of the platform. However, Twitter maintains none of the president's messages violate the company's policies.

The bigger picture: Twitter has said that, in general, it will leave political leaders' tweets up even if they violate the terms of service that apply to other users. Last year it announced a policy that would see the company append a warning to tweets deemed to violate its rules. But, it has yet to apply that policy to Trump or anyone else.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020

Misleading Biden clip highlights Twitter policy concerns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A video selectively edited to frame one of Joe Biden's stump speeches as racist was shared by GOP strategists and a former speaker of the Missouri House, the New York Times reports, citing data from misinformation tracker VineSight.

Why it matters: Sharing misleading information via social media to incite anger toward presidential candidates is easy — and it works.

Go deeperArrowJan 4, 2020