Only days ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Twitter has previewed a couple of new alerts it will show users at the tops of their feeds, both intended to combat misinformation and help keep voters informed. The reason, Twitter notes, is the unprecedented nature of this election, which has seen many people voting early by mail out of concerns about exposure to the coronavirus pandemic.
This US presidential election season is unlike any before it, having played out hotly over the past several months amid growing masses of sophisticated propaganda made possible by digital technologies, as well as the general societal unrest caused by the ongoing and increasingly devastating coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic means that many people are voting early by mail, something that has proven controversial due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is misinformation spread through social media. The biggest platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, have taken a number of steps to address the potential for election interference.
Twitter is the latest to make such an announcement, revealing less than two weeks before the US Election Day that it will start showing its users two prompts at the top of their feeds that warm them about misinformation and potential delays. One prompt explains that the large number of people voting by mail may delay when the election results will be announced — an issue that has multiple platforms scrambling to ensure neither party claims victory prematurely.
The other prompt reminds Twitter users that they may come across misleading news related to mail-in voting; the alert includes a link that users can click to get additional information about the topic. The prompts are showing up for users starting today, October 26, and they will remain until the election results finally arrive.