The US midterm elections will be Elon Musk’s first major test on Twitter.

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Chaos is sown by Twitter’s erratic new owner in advance of election day.

Elon Musk's first major test on twitter

The United States is preparing for midterm elections, the first significant election cycle since the carnage on January 6. Elon Musk’s wildly botched purchase of Twitter just adds to the already unsettling atmosphere. Twitter’s new owner just cut the company in half, displacing those teams in charge of handling elections and misinformation at a time when other large platforms are pulling out their stale playbooks to cope with organised attacks, viral misinformation, and false claims about election results.Due to its excellence as a source of breaking news and the fact that the majority of elected leaders (as well as many other government officials) frequent it, Twitter, a very small social network, has a significant impact on politics.Twitter’s policies and probably even its products are about to be put to the test with Musk in charge and half the business gone, including those individuals who weren’t supposed to be terminated – oops.

Musk unexpectedly entered the political arena the day before the U.S. midterm elections, supporting Republicans. “Since the worst excesses of both parties are curbed by shared control, I advise voting for a Republican Congress, assuming that the According to Musk, the presidency is Democratic. Musk isn’t the first tech CEO to have political ideas, but his last-minute campaigning makes it clear that, regardless of how he puts it, he isn’t interested in being “politically neutral.”
Musk’s hastily made political endorsement just erodes confidence in his ability to lead the platform, similar to practically everything else he’s written since taking over at Twitter. Given previous disagreements with prominent Democrats on Twitter, the political message isn’t particularly shocking, but it’s still concerning that these are the topics Twitter’s new owner is wasting his (and our) time on. Since purchasing the business, Musk and both Democratic Rep.
Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in a particularly unsettling exchange that revealed how little Twitter’s new owner cares or understands about reliable information, especially when it doesn’t align with his ideology.

Musk showed his seriousness on the issue a week before Election Day by responding to Clinton with an easily refuted conspiracy theory from a well-known source of incorrect information, presenting a bogus account of the violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. As seen by Musk’s later deletion of the tweet, at least one of the sycophants in his inner circle must have considered the response to be risky on some level, probably to advertising. Without accepting responsibility, Twitter’s new owner soon moved on to create strife about other issues.
or a desperately needed lesson in news literacy. Not good.

Election-related misinformation has a lot of potential for failure, both on election day and in the days that follow when the votes are counted. The thousands of crucial little calls coming from state and local election managers are equally as important as the large ones, such as which party wins the House and the Senate. Election deniers in states like Arizona continue to circulate misleading information about past election results two years after the January 6 uprising while attempting to take control of local election oversight for themselves. Will Twitter this time have the personnel or the political will to promptly fact-check conspiracies?
We should expect a rush of unfounded accusations about skewed voting results, mail-in ballots, and political outcomes that change as more votes are counted.

Although Musk hasn’t yet changed Twitter’s policies, he has already plunged the social media site into an emergency with a minimal staff. Because the company’s layoffs were so haphazard and quick, it’s possible that some fundamental knowledge about how to run it and handle risks left the building with half of its staff.

The business removed more than one staff that dealt with election integrity despite assurances from Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of Safety and Integrity, who appears to have Musk’s ear at the moment.
That includes the Twitter curation team, which during live events like elections gave context, kept an eye out for false information, and managed Twitter’s trending and moments modules. The curation team updated various areas of the platform with fact-checked updates, filling in information gaps and acting as a deterrent to misinformation, which spreads swiftly in environments with fast-moving news.

“Our work on election integrity — including damaging misinformation that can depress the vote and combating state-backed information operations — remain a major priority,” Roth added. Early voting is now taking place in the US.
A former director of public policy and elections who worked to get Twitter ready for the American midterm elections was among those who were purportedly dismissed from Twitter’s public policy team, which was cut in half.
The only good news is that Musk’s pay-for-play verification plan was stopped by someone at Twitter, saving the site from the complete turmoil that a wave of newly verified accounts given algorithmic priority would have brought about on Election Day.

open period
This election year, domestic misinformation is a major worry, but Putin’s friends in Russia are actively spreading fear about their own attempts to sabotage U.S. elections. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, boasted that “we have intervened, are meddling, and will interfere” in American politics, but scary declarations are undoubtedly less expensive than the recruiting required to carry out that goal, perhaps with comparable results. Nathaniel Gleicher, the director of security policy at Meta, offered some insightful remarks in that regard:
Contrary to what the majority of Americans generally prefer to think, this year’s elections in the United States are under threat from within, not from without. The attempt to sabotage the election has been ongoing for months with false allegations of ballot “trafficking” and conspiracy-motivated threats of violence against election officials and poll workers. While Tuesday will once again put social media platforms and American democracy to the test.

Not just Twitter is struggling with election misinformation on social media. The Cybersecurity for Democracy team at NYU and Global Witness researchers discovered that TikTok allowed 90% of test ads with misleading voting-related claims, including the erroneous election date. A similar test for political ads in Brazil revealed that non-English content moderation still offers glaring loopholes to anyone who would take advantage of them. Facebook detected some ads while failing to flag others, while YouTube detected all of the English-language ads and banned the channel publishing them.

However, the majority of false information about politics isn’t need to be filed for review advertising. Most political conspiracies and false information simply float together with the vast majority of other user-generated content that businesses carelessly sort through. much of it is never reviewed at all.
Whatever happens on Election Day, malicious actors hoping to influence the American electorate are aware that Twitter is operating with its security breached. As a result, a variety of things will be done that go beyond what is permitted under Musk’s new Twitter policy. Musk has already demonstrated his willingness to adjust the rules as needed by metting out his heaviest punishment to far on comedians who imitate him rather than on chronic harassers or accounts that disseminate hate speech.

Nothing we’ve seen so far gives us hope that Twitter’s new owner will rise to the challenge, no matter what difficulties Twitter faces this week or the dangers it poses to American democracy.

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