Elon Musk’s Twitter slow to act on misleading U.S. election content, experts say

Election consultants reported the unfold of recent falsehoods throughout Twitter and different social media providers on Tuesday as People voted in midterm elections, 4 days after Twitter Inc fired half its employees and new proprietor Elon Musk tweeted a advice to vote for Republican candidates.

The nonpartisan watchdog group Frequent Trigger, which screens social media for voter suppression efforts, mentioned that Twitter took no motion on high-profile posts that the group flagged on Tuesday as problematic.

The U.S. congressional elections posed a recent check for social media firms, which for years have struggled to stability free expression towards amplifying doubtlessly dangerous commentary. Although firm insurance policies allow them to limit misinformation, enforcement has been spotty, and the current upheaval at Twitter has put it beneath specific scrutiny.

Voices on the suitable sought on social media on Tuesday to falsely blame Democrats for voting glitches reported in some locations.

Frequent Trigger mentioned Twitter posts from Republican candidates Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kari Lake ought to have included warning labels beneath the corporate’s civic integrity coverage, which governs deceptive tweets about elections. Posts by Greene and Lake drew tens of hundreds of likes and retweets on Twitter.

Frequent Trigger additionally famous a “large slowdown” in Twitter’s response time since Friday, when layoffs gutted most of the firm’s groups answerable for elevating credible data.

“Twitter is hopeless and never responding past replying that they’re trying into one thing after which going darkish on it for days,” the group mentioned, noting that the corporate’s response time was usually about one to 3 hours.

Twitter, which misplaced many members of its communications group within the layoffs, didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Earlier than Tuesday, each Musk and Twitter’s head of security and integrity Yoel Roth tweeted that the corporate would uphold and implement its election integrity insurance policies via the midterms.

Greater than 120 advocacy organizations together with Frequent Trigger in Could urged – with out success – social media firms to introduce “circuit breakers” to curtail the speedy unfold of deceptive election data by well-liked accounts.

Dialogue on Twitter on Tuesday targeted on actual voting issues in states with carefully watched races corresponding to Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, based on analysis teams learning on-line election data.

The exercise surged after well-liked commentators on Twitter attributed the malfunctions – with out offering proof – to makes an attempt by Democrats to suppress Republican voters, based on the Election Integrity Partnership, a coalition of analysis outfits.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him via widespread voting fraud, posted on his social media app Fact Social that the problems in some states amounted to a recent spherical of deliberate misbehavior.

Election officers in Arizona’s Maricopa County mentioned that the problems skilled on Tuesday wouldn’t have an effect on vote counting. Officers in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County prolonged voting hours to compensate for the issues.

After officers in Georgia’s Cobb County prolonged the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots as a result of some voters didn’t obtain ballots, false claims unfold – primarily on Twitter – that the extension was meant to assist “steal” the election, based on a spokesperson on the Southern Poverty Legislation Heart activist group.

Additionally drawing engagement have been posts baselessly warning voters that Wi-Fi networks at polling areas may allow hacking of voting machines, Jesse Littlewood, vice chairman for campaigns at Frequent Trigger, advised a information briefing.

The falsehoods appeared to originate on messaging app Telegram earlier than spreading to extra mainstream social media providers, based on Frequent Trigger. A Reuters evaluate discovered examples on Twitter, TikTok and Meta’s Facebook.

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