Twitter says it labeled 300K election tweets with misleading or disputed content
The platform has stepped up its efforts to fight the spread of misinformation in recent weeks.
Abrar Al-HeetiVideo producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
ExpertiseAbrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley.Credentials
Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Twitter added labels with additional context to around 300,000 tweets with potentially misleading or disputed content over two weeks that encompassed the 2020 US presidential election, the company said in a Thursday blog post. Additionally, Twitter said more than 450 of the labeled tweets were concealed by a warning message and were subject to limited retweeting and overall engagement. The analysis looked at tweets about the election posted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11.
The social media company, along with other tech giants like Facebook and Google, has been working to battle election misinformation. Meanwhile, some social media users, including President Donald Trump, have been challenging the results of the election since it was called for Democrat Joe Biden, who won the popular vote with about 5 million more votes across the US than his rival. Trump has been using social networks to falsely claim, without evidence, that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him. Twitter has added warning labels to several of Trump's tweets, including one in which he wrongly claimed he'd won the election.
Twitter also examined what worked to help curb misinformation and what didn't. Removing user recommendations on who to follow, for instance, didn't a meaningful impact on election misinformation. Twitter will undo that change on Thursday. It'll also undo a change it rolled out ahead of the election in which only topics with additional in-line context were shown on the "For You" tab featuring trending topics.
One feature that seemingly worked well to slow the spread of misleading information was one that prompted users to quote-tweet instead of simply retweet. Now, when people hit the retweet button, they're shown the quote tweet composer and are encouraged to add their own comment. The overall number of retweets and quote tweets combined has since dropped by 20%, Twitter says.
"This change introduced some friction, and gave people an extra moment to consider why and what they were adding to the conversation," Twitter said in the blog post. "This change slowed the spread of misleading information by virtue of an overall reduction in the amount of sharing on the service."
Twitter said it's taking more time to study the impact of this change and, for now, is leaving it in place.