Further strict measures to clamp down on misinformation online prior to the presidential elections in the United States are being taken by Google and Twitter, the two companies have said.
Ahead of the November vote a flood of false claims and misleading posts are being expected by the messaging platforms.
It will be more aggressive in labeling and removing election-related tweets that are inaccurate, Twitter said.
In order to prevent misleading of voters, particularly over reports claiming an early victory, more auto-complete results would be screened by its search engine, Google said.
There are concerns of significant delays in tallying results because of the widespread use of mail ballots in the US election due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. That could allow misinformation to gain traction, fear experts.
Google’s searches would not show any incorrect information about election results, the company said on Thursday.
Tweets claiming victory before election results have been certified, as well as those posts that are misleading about ballot tampering would also be affected by the changes planned by Twitter.
Following intelligence agencies of the United States revealing that Russia used their platforms to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, there is increased pressure on social media firms to crack down on misinformation and fake news.
“We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections,” Twitter wrote in its blog. “Any attempt to do so – both foreign and domestic – will be met with strict enforcement of our rules, which are applied equally and judiciously for everyone.”
Attempts are being made to snoop on people and groups involved with the US 2020 presidential election by hackers with ties to Russia, China and Iran, warned Microsoft on Friday. This same too, those Russian hackers who had interfered in he 2016 Democratic campaign, were involved, said the US tech firm.
A small network of accounts and pages that were part of a Russian influence operation were dismantled by it, Facebook has said last week. According to the investigation by the social media company, the latest campaign was linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) – which is an organisation close to the Russian government and which was at eh center of accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Five accounts from the same network were also suspended by Twitter. PeaceData, that has claimed itself to be a non-profit news website in English and Arabic, was at the centre of the operation. In recent months, there have been clashes between the messaging platform and US President Donald Trump who has made frequent posts on the platform about possible fraud in the coming election and have criticized Twitter for flagging his posts as being misleading.
Google will remove predictions “that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party” for its auto-complete results, which predict what users are searching for, the search engine company said. The auto function that attempts to predict and complete search terms for users when they look up the status of voting locations or voting requirements or methods will also be removed by Google. Google users will however still be able to search for this information.
(Adapted from BBC.com)