Twitter slapped warnings on tweets by Trump allies making unsubstantiated claims of election fraud
- Twitter on Tuesday applied warning labels to multiple tweets by Republican Party officials and Trump allies for violating its policy against election misinformation and interference.
- Twitter also blocked users from liking, retweeting, and replying to the tweets, which were posted by the Philadelphia GOP's official account, as well as Trump election operations director Mike Roman and ally Stephen Moore.
- The tweets contained a variety of false, unsubstantiated, or misleading allegations of voter fraud in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.
- Trump has also made baseless claims about the integrity of the voting process, but election officials on Tuesday had not found any evidence to support claims of widespread fraud or interference.
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Twitter applied warning labels and restricted the reach of a series of tweets Tuesday by Republican officials and Trump allies for violating its policy against election misinformation and interference.
The tweets contained a variety of false, unsubstantiated, or misleading allegations of voter fraud in the city of Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania — a battleground state in the US presidential election — based on election officials' responses and currently available evidence.
Here's a rundown of Twitter's policy, which accounts it said violated the policy, what they said, and fact-checks of their claims.
Twitter's policies against election misinformation
Twitter's "Civic Integrity" policy states that users "may not use Twitter's services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes," including but not limited to tweets that could suppress voter turnout, mislead people about the voting process, or contain "unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results."
When a tweet violates those (or variousother) policies, Twitter may remove the tweet, apply a warning label and limit its reach, block the offending account from tweeting, or suspend that account permanently (for repeat or severe violations).
Over the past few months, Twitter has tightened these rules and rolled out new warnings and restrictions for tweets by "US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement." When these accounts push potential election misinformation, Twitter is now taking the additional steps of turning off likes, retweets and replies for the offending tweet while also not recommending the tweet to other users through its algorithm.
These new warnings and restrictions are what Twitter applied Tuesday to a handful of tweets that the company said violated its Civic Integrity policy.
Who violated Twitter's policies
On Tuesday, Twitter applied labels and/or restricted the reach of:
- At least nine tweets by the official Philadelphia Republican Party;
- At least five tweets by Trump's director of Election Day Operations, Mike Roman; and
- At least one tweet by Trump's senior economic advisor, Stephen Moore.
What did they claim, and what's the truth?
The three accounts tweeted a slew of unfounded or misleading allegations of voter fraud, voter intimidation, illegal poll watching and campaigning activity by Democrats, election officials rejecting legitimate poll watching activity by Republicans, and ballot tampering or other illegal attempts to manipulate votes.
Philadelphia's Election Task Force, part of the District Attorney's Office, said it responded to just 68 allegations of voter interference and had resolved all but one by the end of Tuesday night, according to the Philly Voice.
The DA's office replied to one tweet by Roman alleging a campaign sign was illegally placed near a polling place, saying it found no violation and calling Roman's tweet "deliberately deceptive," which alleged a sign endorsing Democratic candidates was in violation of election rules.
Members of our Election Task Force have investigated this allegation. This polling place is located in an interior room and the sign in question is further than 10 feet from it. This tweet is deliberately deceptive. #PhillyVotes #Election2020 https://t.co/szKgxoigVm— Philadelphia DAO (@philadao) November 3, 2020
Twitter determined that another tweet by Roman contained "manipulated media." According to The New York Times, Roman had deceptively posted two images side-by-side to make it appear as if poll workers were handing out campaign material.
In another case, one video posted by Roman appeared to show a poll watcher being turned away by poll workers. Philadelphia election officials said the issue stemmed from confusion over rules around where poll watchers were allowed, adding the incident was isolated and that it quickly resolved the matter by letting the worker in, according to ProPublica.
Roman, who is leading Trump's "army" of poll watchers, has a history of voter fraud allegations, according to the Associated Press.
"Mike Roman has made many unsubstantiated allegations of fraud and rigging, he has a history and general reputation as someone who stirs things up, so his presence in any Election Day issues gives me pause," Rick Hasen, a law professor and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine told the AP.
Moore also claimed poll watchers were being turned away but provided no evidence.
Some of the Philadelphia GOP's tweets purported to show ballot tampering, people voting twice or on behalf of others, or delays and disruptions with the voting process, but so far those claims are all unfounded.
Pennsylvania targeted by misinformation before Election Day
As a pivotal swing state in the election, Pennsylvania has been hit with waves of misinformation leading up to the election, including from President Donald Trump.
On Monday, Twitter added a warning label to a Trump tweet that claimed — without evidence — that a recent US Supreme Court decision to allow Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots up to three days after the election could undermine the integrity of the election.
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