Civic integrity policy

Overview


January 2021

You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. In addition, we may label and reduce the visibility of Tweets containing false or misleading information about civic processes in order to provide additional context.

The public conversation occurring on Twitter is never more important than during elections and other civic events. Any attempts to undermine the integrity of our service is antithetical to our fundamental rights and undermines the core tenets of freedom of expression, the value upon which our company is based.

We believe we have a responsibility to protect the integrity of those conversations from interference and manipulation. Therefore, we prohibit attempts to use our services to manipulate or disrupt civic processes, including through the distribution of false or misleading information about the procedures or circumstances around participation in a civic process. In instances where misleading information does not seek to directly manipulate or disrupt civic processes, but leads to confusion on our service, we may label the Tweets to give additional context.

 

What is a civic process? 


Twitter considers civic processes to be events or procedures mandated, organized, and conducted by the governing and/or electoral body of a country, state, region, district, or municipality to address a matter of common concern through public participation. Some examples of civic processes may include: 

  • Political elections
  • Censuses 
  • Major referenda and ballot initiatives 

 

What is in violation of this policy?


This policy addresses 4 categories of misleading behavior and content: 
 

Misleading information about how to participate

We will label or remove false or misleading information about how to participate in an election or other civic process. This includes but is not limited to:

  • misleading information about procedures to participate in a civic process (for example, that you can vote by Tweet, text message, email, or phone call in jurisdictions where these are not a possibility);
  • misleading information about requirements for participation, including identification or citizenship requirements;
  • misleading claims that cause confusion about the established laws, regulations, procedures, and methods of a civic process, or about the actions of officials or entities executing those civic processes; and
  • misleading statements or information about the official, announced date or time of a civic process.
     

Suppression and intimidation

We will label or remove false or misleading information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in an election or other civic process. This includes but is not limited to:

  • misleading claims that polling places are closed, that polling has ended, or other misleading information relating to votes not being counted;
  • misleading claims about police or law enforcement activity related to voting in an election, polling places, or collecting census information;
  • misleading claims about long lines, equipment problems, or other disruptions at voting locations during election periods;
  • misleading claims about process procedures or techniques which could dissuade people from participating; and
  • threats regarding voting locations or other key places or events (note that our violent threats policy may also be relevant for threats not covered by this policy).
     

Misleading information about outcomes 

We will label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process. This includes but is not limited to:

  • disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process itself, such as unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results; and
  • misleading claims about the results or outcome of a civic process which calls for or could lead to interference with the implementation of the results of the process, e.g. claiming victory before election results have been certified, inciting unlawful conduct to prevent the procedural or practical implementation of election results (note that our violent threats policy may also be relevant for threats not covered by this policy).
     

False or misleading affiliation

You can’t create fake accounts which misrepresent their affiliation, or share content that falsely represents its affiliation, to a candidate, elected official, political party, electoral authority, or government entity. Read more about our parody, commentary, and fan account policy.

 

What is not a violation of this policy?


Not all false or untrue information about politics or civic processes constitutes manipulation or interference. In the absence of other policy violations, the following are generally not in violation of this policy:

  • inaccurate statements about an elected or appointed official, candidate, or political party;
  • organic content that is polarizing, biased, hyperpartisan, or contains controversial viewpoints expressed about elections or politics;
  • discussion of public polling information; 
  • voting and audience participation for competitions, game shows, or other entertainment purposes; and
  • using Twitter pseudonymously or as a parody, commentary, or fan account to discuss elections or politics.

 

Who can report violations of this policy?


Accurate reporting of suspected violations of this policy requires information and knowledge specific to an election or civic process. Therefore, we enable reporting of false or misleading information about civic processes in advance of major events, for people located in the relevant countries and locations. We also work with select government and civil society partners in these countries to provide additional channels for reporting and expedited review.

For civic processes with multiple stages or parts, such as primary elections or lengthy campaigns, reporting will be enabled leading up to the first officially-sanctioned event associated with the civic process.

 

How can I report violations of this policy?


If the reporting option for this policy is enabled in your country at the relevant time, you can report this content in-app or on desktop.
 

In-app

You can report this content for review in-app as follows:

  1. Select Report Tweet from the  icon.
  2. Select It's misleading about a political election or other civic event.
  3. Select the option that best tells us how the Tweet is misleading about voting or participation in civic processes.
  4. Submit your report.
     

Desktop

You can report this content for review on desktop as follows:

  1. Select Report Tweet from the  icon.
  2. Select It's misleading about a political election or other civic event
  3. Select the option that best tells us how the Tweet is misleading about voting or participation in a civic process.
  4. Submit your report.
     

What happens if you violate this policy?


The consequences for violating our civic integrity policy depends on the severity and type of the violation and the accounts’ history of previous violations. In instances where accounts repeatedly violate this policy, we will use a strike system to determine if further enforcement actions should be applied. We believe this system further helps to reduce the spread of potentially harmful and misleading information on Twitter, particularly for high-severity violations of our rules.

The actions we take may include the following:


Tweet deletion 

For high-severity violations of this policy, including (1) misleading information about how to participate, and (2) suppression and intimidation, we will require you to remove this content. We will also temporarily lock you out of your account before you can Tweet again. Tweet deletions accrue 2 strikes.


Profile modifications

If you violate this policy within your profile information (e.g., your bio), we will require you to remove this content. We will also temporarily lock you out of your account before you can Tweet again. If you violate this policy again after your first warning, your account will be permanently suspended.


Labeling

In circumstances where we do not remove content which violates this policy, we may provide additional context on Tweets sharing the content where they appear on Twitter. This means we may:

  • Apply a label and/or warning message to the content where it appears in the Twitter product;
  • Show a warning to people before they share or like the content;
  • Turn off people’s ability to reply, Retweet, or like the Tweet;
  • Reduce the visibility of the content on Twitter and/or prevent it from being recommended;
  • Provide a link to additional explanations or clarifications, such as in a Twitter Moment or relevant Twitter policies; and/or
  • Turn off likes, replies, and Retweets.
     

In most cases, we will take all of the above actions on Tweets we label. In some instances, we’ll also turn off your ability to reply, Retweet, or like the Tweet. We prioritize producing Twitter Moments in cases where misleading content on Twitter is gaining significant attention and has caused public confusion on our service. Labels applied to Tweets accrue 1 strike.


Account locks and permanent suspension

For severe or repeated violations of this policy, accounts will be permanently suspended.

Repeated violations of this policy are enforced against on the basis of the number of strikes an account has accrued for violations of this policy:

  • 1 strike: No account-level action
  • 2 strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • 3 strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • 4 strikes: 7-day account lock
  • 5 or more strikes: Permanent suspension
     

If you believe that your account was locked or suspended in error, you can submit an appeal.

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