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Weekly Roundups

Facebook and Twitter Face US Election Day Misinformation

By Andrea Villar | Thu, 11/05/2020 - 12:00

The race for the US presidency between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is not over yet. Meanwhile, Twitter, Facebook and Google, which are under the scrutiny of the regulatory authorities in that country after being accused of allowing the spread of false information. 

To prove themselves, Facebook and Instagram pledged to clarify whether the vote count is still in progress and to report on whether a candidate or party declares a "premature victory" before the mainstream media announces the end of Election Day. Such was the case with Donald Trump on Wednesday morning when he declared his victory despite the fact that millions of ballots were still to be counted in key states.

In early August, Facebook and Instagram dismantled a network of 120 accounts involved in an operation to promote Trump's re-election campaign from Romania. Both social networks removed more than 1,000 accounts identified as "not authentic" because of their behavior aimed at misleading the public. Likewise, in mid-October, Facebook said it rejected 2.2 million advertisements and another 120,000 Facebook and Instagram posts were removed for trying to "block voter participation" in the US election.

Twitter, meanwhile, has implemented a system of alert tags in the tweets of certain accounts, including the tweet where Donald Trump declared his early victory. A couple of weeks ago, the company led by Jack Dorsey temporarily banned Trump’s campaign account after reporting that a video shared on Biden's son’s profile violated his rules. 

YouTube, on the other hand, started adding to its videos informative panels on postal voting to reduce the spread of misinformation. Voting by mail was added to a small list of topics considered by YouTube to be prone to misleading postings, said the company owned by Google in a blog post. “Our teams have been working around the clock to make sure we have the systems and policies in place to prevent the abuse of our systems and provide access to authoritative information this election season,” said Leslie Miller, YouTube’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, in the blog.

Last week, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet attended a virtual Senate hearing over 1996’s internet legislation Section 230, which says internet companies cannot be held liable for the content their users post. Republican Senator Roger Wicker pointed out that social media puts conservative content at a disadvantage affecting local media, which is why Section 230 should be changed.

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The data used in this article was sourced from:  
AFP, Reuters
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst