Today Twitter announced they will start pinning notices to the top of all U.S. users’ feeds sharing a warning that results in next week’s election may be delayed, and that they may encounter misinformation on mail-in voting.
Twitter is calling the messages a “pre-bunk,”. A way of debunking misinformation before it is flagged and reviewed. Twitter says the company has never done this before as historically debunking is a reaction to an existing tweet with misinformation, not a preemptive measure to stop fake news.
The message that went live today reads in part,
Election experts confirm that voting by mail is safe and secure, even with an increase in mail-in ballots.
This is a statement of fact, that as I said on Internet News Flash today will likely create outrage, something Twitter seems great at doing (reason number 12,110 for my social revolt). Just last week conservatives were crying censorship because Twitter rolled a popup that encouraged used to read an article before Re Tweeting.
Most Americans think social media censors based on political view points, and while that may be true. Amazingly both liberals and conservatives feel the censorship impacts their belief system the most; Because people are not reasonable.
As for the popup Twitter says the prompts will be available in multiple languages and will appear on the home timeline of every person using Twitter located within the US, and in search results when people enter related terms, phrases or hashtags. This is not a partisan move by Twitter, but I fully expect it will be called a partisan move.
Twitter has a misinformation problem, and not all of that problem is the spread of news on Twitter (from Twitter bots or elected politicians). Twitter, and YouTube, Facebook, hell any social network create misinformation because they exist. Arguments about both social media political bias, and about social medias impact on politics are, at least in the U.S. overstated.
Now in other nations like Myanmar it’s not the same story. Social networks can do real harm. Propaganda is bad, and bias will always exist, on balance I think social networks are harmful. But misinformation about social networks is doing more to sway U.S. election than misinformation spread by social networks.