Twitter Lays Out More Confusing Rules and Changes Ahead of Election Day

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Posted: Oct 20, 2020 4:35 PM
Twitter Lays Out More Confusing Rules and Changes Ahead of Election Day

Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

With just two weeks to go until Election Day and amid accusations of rank partisan censorship, Twitter unveiled even more mystifying changes to their platform on Thursday, causing frustration and anger among users. 

Beginning Tuesday, Twitter has changed the way users are able to share tweets via the 'retweet' function, prompting them to 'quote tweet' before simply sharing another user's post. The original function is still available, but anyone trying to retweet must first decline to add their own comments to the message. From the Verge:

Twitter is temporarily changing how you retweet ahead of the November 3rd US presidential election, to help prevent abuse and the spread of misinformation. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to retweet. But until at least the end of election week, it won’t be quite as easy as usual to retweet something to all of your followers.

Starting today, when you click or tap the retweet icon, Twitter will pull up the Quote Tweet composer to encourage you to write something about that tweet before you share it. You don’t have to write anything if you don’t want — just leave the composer blank and hit the retweet button to retweet like you normally would. But Twitter is hoping that by introducing some friction into the process, people might better consider exactly what they’re retweeting or take the opportunity to add their own perspective.

Almost immediately, prominent conservatives on Twitter pushed back on the new rules, citing a clear indication of enhanced bias, following last week's attempt to completely bury a New York Post report that detailed criminal activity by the Biden family. 

"Twitter is throttling retweeting until after the election," said the Federalist's Sean Davis. "They're knee-capping their own business to stick it to Republicans and prevent any pro-Trump narratives from taking hold." 

Changing the retweet function wasn't the only change that Twitter has made ahead of the general election. The social media giant also said that they would be censoring any tweet that forecasted an election winner without first verifying that victory from a "reputable source." They described requiring two "authoritative," "independent" news sources in order to allow any user to declare victory for any winner. 

Twitter's latest changes are in addition to a feature they added last month, in which they gave themselves autonomy in describing the context of a trending topic. This feature has already been ridiculed by many who have cited clear, left-wing bias when describing daily talking points that start trending. 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were meant to be subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee following the censorship of reporting on Hunter and Joe Biden, but that process has reportedly hit a snag with members of the GOP in Congress's upper chamber.