Twitter To Apply Election Labels To Candidate Accounts That Try To Call Election Results

( Twitter has announced a new labeling policy in an attempt to prevent candidates and other highly-followed accounts from prematurely announcing election wins.

Twitter made the announcement on a blog on their site on Monday morning. Any Twitter account that has a US 2020 candidate label, as well as any U.S.-based account that has more than 100,000 followers will be subject to the label.

Also, any individual tweet that has “significant engagement” will be eligible for an election label. This includes any posts that has 25,000 likes or 25,000 quote tweets and/or retweets.

As Twitter wrote in its blog post:

“Because this is an unusual election – restrictions in response to COVID-19 have led to historically high numbers of mail-in ballots, which may result in some state results not being resolved on election night – we are taking additional steps to provide context when results have not been officially called. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect the integrity of the conversation around the election while counting is ongoing and before results are announced by state authorities.

“Beginning on election night through the inauguration, we will label some Tweets that make claims about election results. We will be prioritizing the presidential election and other highly contested races where there may be significant issues with misleading information…”

Accounts that will be exempt from Twitter’s new election labeling policy include any state election official, “as determined by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors.” Also exempt will be national news outlets that have independent election decision desks, such as ABC News, the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News and NBC News.

Twitter published screenshots of the election labels on its blog post. One warns that “Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted.” The other warns that “Official sources called this election differently.”

In its blog post, Twitter listed a whole slew of actions it has taken to protect elections.” It accompanied the list by writing:

“The improvements we’re announcing today are the latest in our comprehensive effort to apply the lessons of 2016, and from elections that have happened around the world since, to the 2020 US Election. This is exemplified in our efforts surrounding the last US Midterm Election through this month.”

Among some of these changes is tightening policies and zero-tolerance approach to hacked materials (October 2018); banning all political ads, including ads from state-controlled media (October 2019); adding Election Labels to candidates’ accounts (December 2019); adding labels and warnings to potentially harmful misleading information (May 2020); and expanding their civic integrity policy to include specifics around pre- and post-election day (September 2020).

Twitter has come under fire for its labeling and censorship policies, especially from conservatives. The social media giant has been accused on many occasions of silencing conservative voices, even in instances when those viewpoints have been proven as true.

Now, it seems Twitter is trying to get ahead of the game for Election Day so it doesn’t receive more backlash should candidates try to call the election on their own.