Nov. 8 (Reuters) – Election experts said on Tuesday, days after Twitter laid off half of its staff and recommended that new owner Elon Musk vote for the Republican candidate, Americans voted to vote for him. As we head into the vote, we reported a new conspiracy theory spreading across Twitter and other social media platforms.
Posts about voting machine problems in Maricopa County, Arizona, and Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, spiked after popular commentators claimed the malfunction was intentional, according to a study of online election information. The Election Justice Partnership, a coalition of research groups, said.
Maricopa County election officials said in a video on Twitter that the issue would not affect ballot counting and that ballots would be stored in locked boxes and tallied later. The voting hours were extended because of this, local media reported.
Both counties are among 64 jurisdictions monitored by U.S. Department of Justice officials for violations of voting rights.
The term “cheating” was trending on Twitter as of midday, but the details are unknown. Prior to Friday’s layoff, Twitter had hired a team of curation specialists tasked with adding context to Trend’s topics. The entire team was let go.
According to Common Cause, a bipartisan organization that runs a social media surveillance program to identify voter suppression moves, Twitter’s job cuts also “significantly slowed down” the company’s response to external reports of false allegations. seems to have brought
The Common Cause said it had flagged a post falsely claiming that delayed voting results amounted to fraud, but had taken no action by Tuesday afternoon.
“Twitter is hopeless and hasn’t responded other than it’s been dark for days after replying that they’re looking into something,” the group said in an email update, previously responding in about an hour to three hours. I pointed out that I was
Twitter, which lost many members of its communications team to layoffs, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Conspiracy theorists have also begun to baselessly warn voters that polling place Wi-Fi networks are questionable and may be connected to voting machines, said Jesse Littlewood, vice president of campaigns at Common Cause. said in a news briefing.
The warning appeared to originate from the messaging app Telegram before spreading to more mainstream social media platforms, Common Cause said.
Littlewood added that the existence of a Wi-Fi network does not mean that it is connected to any machine.
After Musk took the lead in a $44 billion acquisition last week, it destroyed many of Twitter’s teams responsible for promoting trustworthy information, including human rights and the ethics of machine learning.
Headcount reductions also impacted engineers across the product and core infrastructure teams.
Over the weekend, Twitter had compiled a list of employees it had mistakenly laid off and planned to get them back, according to a source familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message seen by Reuters.
Both Musk and Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, are trying to reassure users, civil rights groups and advertisers that Twitter is backing its electoral integrity policy throughout the US midterm elections. and tweeted when it was implemented.
Roth said Friday that his safety team, which is responsible for policing harmful content, was less affected by the layoffs than other teams.
Twitter has also decided to delay rolling out the option for premium Twitter subscribers to pay to verify their profile until after the election, Roth tweeted Monday night.
Reporting by Katie Paul and Sheila Dang. Additional reporting by Paresh Dave and Martin Coulter.Edited by Kenneth Lee, Ana Nicolachi da Costa and Jonathan Ortiz
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