Twitter has rolled out a set of changes to its rules ahead of the upcoming US presidential election. From now on, users – including candidates – cannot claim victory until it’s called by at least two “authoritative” news outlets.
The updated rules were unveiled by the social media platform on Friday. While an earlier version of the rules said election candidates could not claim victory on the platform until the results were “certified,” now they are allowed to do so when the results are merely “authoritatively called.” The general twitterati are barred from prematurely hailing the victory of a candidate as well.
“People on Twitter, including candidates for office, may not claim an election win before it is authoritatively called. To determine the results of an election in the US, we require either an announcement from state election officials, or a public projection from at least two authoritative national news outlets that make independent election calls,” the new rules read.
However, Twitter didn’t name the specific outlets it considers “authoritative.”
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Unsubstantiated victory claims “will be labeled and direct people to our official US election page,” the platform warned. Messages “meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results,” including such extreme behavior as calls for violence, will be removed altogether.
The new rules were met with more than a little skepticism from users, with many urging Twitter to be less vague and to explicitly name the outlets it considers trustworthy enough for such a lofty task.
@Twitter: Define ‘reputable’ please, publish a list; this is no time to be vague.
— Karan Scott (@K_ScottCoaching) October 9, 2020
Who decides what source is reputable?
— PJohnson🆘 (@pj219) October 9, 2020
Some were even more dubious, accusing Twitter of constantly changing its rules and then selectively applying them.
Don't be silly. Twitter just make that shit up as they go along. What applies today may not apply tomorrow & what applied yesterday may or may not apply to today. Depends on their mood.
— John Paynter (@JohnPaynter1970) October 9, 2020
Lets see if this applies to all tweets or only tweets from a certain group
— John (@kangaroosnxt10k) October 9, 2020
Others suggested that all social media platforms should fall silent on polling day in a bid to tackle the issue at its root.
All social media should go dark on Election day. Just one day. You eliminate a lot of problems.
— jim (@bellevuecity) October 9, 2020
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