For social media, it is not Election Day. It is judgment day. Since the 2016 election fiasco, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are now pulling on their battle fatigues and are said to be on a high alert in the coming days to curtail any efforts to disrupt the election or delegitimize the results.
The stakes are very high this time. Observers have pointed that the full-blown bigoted warfare of presidential campaigning that has frayed through social media in the last few months is expected to result in an unprecedented surge of misinformation, voter suppression efforts, and may even lead to the fomenting of violence.
On the eve of US Elections, 2020, social network giants like Facebook and Twitter issued a warning on a post uploaded by President Donald Trump. Twitter believes that Trump’s affirmation that a recent Supreme Court decision could lead to possible problems and even violence in the election in Pennsylvania was misleading. The social media platform refrained users from liking or replying to the tweet.
Facebook has taken a step further and has put a ban on ads that are making false claims about voting and even aim to delegitimise the elections. It also fact-checked the president, with a label saying voting fraud is “extremely rare.” As a result of a policy announced in September, the Facebook label is put on posts that work towards delegitimising the outcome of the election or even discuss the legitimacy of voting methods.
Facebook came under scrutiny when Russians misused all social media platforms, including YouTube and Twitter to inflame American voters with divisive messages before the 2016 presidential election. Since then, the company has invested billions of dollars to improve the sites’ security, policies, and processes. This time, the social network has been implementing changes till the last minute. Just a week before the US Elections 2020, Facebook has turned off political and social group recommendations. It has also temporarily removed a feature in Instagram’s hashtag pages to control the spread of wrong information.
To prevent candidates from prematurely and inaccurately declaring victory, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also planning to add a notification at the top of News Feeds to inform the users that no winner has been chosen until the results are verified with verified agencies.
Twitter has also decided to add labels to tweets from candidates who claim victory before the election is called by authoritative sources. It is only after new verified news agencies have projected the results that the candidate can use the social media channel to celebrate his or her win.
Stay tuned to know the latest news and updates on US Elections 2020.