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US midterms bring little change from social media companies


FILE – This photo combination shows the logos of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. Social media companies are sharing their plans to protect the US midterm elections, though they offer few details. Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter are generally maintaining the course they were on during the 2020 voting season — which was marred by conspiracies and culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. (AP Photo, File)


Social media companies offer few details as they share their plans to protect the US midterm elections.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have generally stayed the course since the 2020 election season, which was marred by conspiracies and culminated in the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol.

Video app TikTok, which has grown in popularity since the last election cycle while cementing its place as a disinformation pain point, announced on Wednesday the launch of an election hub that will help people find places to vote. and candidate information.

The center will appear on videos about the US election and in the feeds of users who search for election-related hashtags. TikTok also partners with voting rights groups to provide expert voting information to students, deaf people, military personnel living overseas, and those with previous criminal convictions.

TikTok, like other platforms, would not provide details on the number of full-time employees or how much money it is spending on mid-term US efforts to spread voting information. accurate and to counter misinformation.

The company said it works with more than a dozen fact-checking organizations, including U.S.-based PolitiFact and Lead Stories, to debunk misinformation. TikTok declined to say how many videos have been verified on its site. The company will use a combination of humans and artificial intelligence to detect and eliminate threats against election workers as well as disinformation about voting.

TikTok said it also monitors influencers who break its rules by accepting money off the platform to promote political issues or candidates, an issue that came to light during the 2020 election, the report said. chief security officer of TikTok, Eric Han. The company tries to educate creators and agencies about its rules, which include banning political advertising.

“With the work we do, there is no finish line,” Han said.

Meta Platforms Inc., owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, announced on Tuesday that its approach to this election cycle is “largely consistent with the policies and safeguards” of 2020.

“As we did in 2020, we have a dedicated team in place to tackle elections and voter interference while helping people get reliable information about when and how to vote,” wrote Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, in a blog post on Tuesday. .

Meta declined to say how many people he has dedicated to his midterms monitoring election team, only that he has “hundreds of people on over 40 teams.”

As in 2020, Clegg wrote, the company will remove misinformation about election dates, polling locations, voter registration and election results. For the first time, Meta said it will also display US election-related notifications in languages ​​other than English.

Meta also said it would reduce the frequency of use of labels on election-related posts directing people to reliable information. The company said its users find the labels overused. Some reviewers also said the labels were often too generic and repetitive.

Compared to previous years, however, Meta’s public communication about its response to election misinformation has gone decidedly quiet, The Associated Press reported earlier this month.

Between 2018 and 2020, the company released more than 30 statements detailing how it would stifle U.S. election disinformation, prevent foreign adversaries from running ads or messaging around the vote, and crack down on divisive hate speech. Until Tuesday’s blog post, Meta had only released a one-page document outlining plans for the fall election, even as potential threats to the vote linger.

Twitter, meanwhile, sticks to its own misinformation labels, though it has redesigned them since 2020 partly based on user feedback. The company activated its “Civic Integrity Policy” last week, which means tweets containing harmful misinformation about the election are tagged with links to credible information. The tweets themselves will not be promoted or amplified by the platform.

The company, which like TikTok does not allow political ads, focuses on presenting verified and reliable information to its users. This can include links to state-specific hubs for local election information as well as nonpartisan public service announcements for voters.