Twitter PH deploys anti-fake news team, suspends 300 accounts linked to Marcos Jr.


With the May 9 general elections closing in, popular social media platform Twitter held a press briefing on Monday, April 18, to share its ongoing efforts and latest updates to protect the integrity of the country’s elections.

Image from Twitter PH

“Because we know that public conversation is critical during the elections and Twitter is where this unfolds, we strive to make it easier to find credible information on the elections,” said Lynn Ampolpittayanant, head of SEA public policy, government, and philanthropy at Twitter during the briefing.

Twitter said its commitment to providing credible information entails addressing the challenge of misinformation and fake news disseminated on its platform.

According to a SWS survey conducted last December, 51% of Filipinos have difficulty identifying fake news and 67% consider the spread of fake news on the Internet, including social media platforms, as serious.

Twitter said its push against misinformation relies on proactively identifying it through a combination of human review and technology.

To prevent or mitigate the spread of misinformation during the election, the platform dedicated a specially trained team that includes Filipino language speakers and members well-versed in local contexts.

This team has already been supporting election integrity by identifying malicious actors and reviewing reports 24/7. After identifying misleading tweets, the platform moves to enforce its policies.

One of the most significant is its civic integrity policy that states Twitter’s services may not be utilized to interfere with the elections.

To enforce it, Twitter provides labels and warning messages on tweets with false or misleading content that attempt to undermine the election process. The labels provide additional context on the topic and reduce the visibility of misleading tweets.

Similarly, manipulated and synthetic media edited by machines is prohibited from the platform. Such doctored media will be either labelled or removed.

So far, the platform has labeled over 1,000 tweets containing unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, and misleading claims about results.

Twitter’s next policy on platform manipulation and spam disallows mass registry of accounts to artificially amplify certain opinions or inflate follower accounts.

Due to violations against this policy, Twitter suspended more than 300 accounts reportedly promoting presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

For its most recent effort against fake news, Twitter expanded the feature that enables individual users to report misleading information.

Previously only available in the US, South Korea, and Australia, this feature was rolled out in the Philippines on January 17, 2022.

Aside from addressing misinformation related to the elections on their platform, Ampolpittayanant highlighted Twitter’s election-related platform updates and initiatives.

For instance, its election-focused search prompts facilitate access to authoritative sources on voting in both Filipino and English.

A search for a certain hashtags and keywords like “#Halalan2022” and “overseas voting” will bring up links to the relevant pages in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) site.

The platform additionally launched a series of customized emojis that increased the visibility of particular hashtags related to the elections.

Last but not least, the platform partnered with organizations to produce voter’s education initiatives. In partnership with the Comelec, users can subscribe to @TwitterPH to receive the latest information straight from this government organization.

Twitter has also been working together with Plan International Philippines to prepare a voter education quiz that will teach voters about electoral agenda.

“Twitter has the responsibility to protect the integrity of the elections and democratic deliberation and any attempts to undermine, to abuse our service around the civic process, especially around the election, will be met with the strict enforcement of our rules and policy,” Ampolpittayanant said.