Twitter announced a number of temporary changes on Friday to help prevent abuse related to the November 3rd US presidential election. Early victory tweets will be flagged, tweets intended to interfere with the election or election results will be removed, and tweets from political figures with more than 100,000 followers – including President Trump – will be flagged as "misleading" will be more difficult to obtain .
“Twitter plays a critical role in protecting the integrity of the election interview. We encourage candidates, campaigns, news agencies and voters to use Twitter respectfully and to recognize our collective responsibility to voters to ensure a safe, fair and legitimate democratic process in November, ”reads a blog post published by Vijaya Gadde , Twitter's legal, regulatory, and trust and security director, and Kayvon Beykpour, product director.
The temporary changes put a brake on how most people can use Twitter. Starting today, users will be encouraged to "add their own comment" before retweeting anything and instead move them to the "Quote Tweet" option. Users who choose not to quote a tweet can still retweet. However, the company says it adds "extra friction and an extra step" in the hopes that this will "increase the likelihood that people will add their own thoughts, reactions, and perspective to the conversation".
Twitter also doesn't provide "Like" and "Followed by" recommendations from people a user doesn't follow, and only includes trending topics on the For You tab for US users that have "additional context." If a user tries to retweet a tweet marked "misleading", they will see a prompt directing them to credible information before they can retweet the bad information.
Twitter has flagged several tweets from Trump for violating rigged media rules, citizen integrity and elections to tweet falsehoods about mail-in votes. The labels don't seem to put the president off, though. After Twitter posted a false tweet about mail-in votes in May, Trump signed an ordinance to reduce the protection of social media platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Last month, Twitter announced a new set of rules to clean up misinformation ahead of the US election. This included plans to flag or remove tweets with false information about election fraud and election results. It also said it would flag posts from candidates who prematurely declare victory and it banned all political advertising in the past year.
The changes will be available to users in the coming days. Twitter says it has already hired more U.S. election staff to respond to issues that emerged on election day.