Twitter has stepped up its actions against misleading tweets ahead of election day. How do the movements work?
A tweet from President Trump late Monday provides a case study. In his tweet, Mr Trump claimed without evidence that the recent Supreme Court decision to allow postal ballot papers to be accepted in Pennsylvania for up to three days after November 3rd would "allow rampant and uncontrolled cheating" and "trigger violence in the streets" . Thirty-six minutes after the tweet was posted, Twitter labeled it controversial or misleading content about the election.
It was the second time Twitter has used this label in any of Mr. Trump's tweets since it updated its guidelines to contain misinformation in the October 9 election. It had also used the label on October 26th when Mr. Trump tweeted with no evidence that there were "big problems and inconsistencies" with postal ballot papers.
Twitter's flagging of Mr. Trump's tweet on Monday also meant people couldn't easily share the post unless they posted their own message with his tweet quoted below. This quickly slowed the spread of the tweet, according to an analysis by the Election Integrity Partnership, a coalition of misinformation researchers.
Before Mr. Trump's tweet was labeled, it was shared or replied to roughly 827 times per minute. After it was marked, according to E.I.P. Analysis.
Even so, Mr. Trump's post has been retweeted more than 55,000 times and liked more than 126,000 times, according to the E.I.P., which said "much of the damage has likely been done".
Lisa Kaplan, the founder of Alethea Group, a company that helps civil servants and private customers fight misinformation, said the data suggests that Twitter's tools for fighting misinformation could be effective, especially if applied more quickly .
“These decisions have to be made much faster. It should be a split second decision, ”she said.
Still, she warned that the tweet could be shared beyond Twitter's service if it were posted on other social media platforms.
A Twitter spokeswoman said she put the label on Mr. Trump's tweet to make it "consistent with our policy of civil integrity".
Facebook also added a label to Mr. Trump's identical post on the social network on Monday. According to the Facebook label, election fraud was rare, but Mr Trump's post was still shareable, having over 78,000 likes, 5,000 shares and 18,000 comments as of Tuesday morning. A Facebook spokesman said the label was part of the company's efforts to counter election-related misinformation.