Both social media companies plan to implement special protocols on Tuesday as election results begin rolling in.
- Twitter says it will remove or add a warning to tweets that declare election wins before official results are declared, as determined by national media outlets.
- When Twitter users try to retweet, the company will show them a prompt encouraging them to "quote tweet" (and thereby add their own commentary) instead, a move designed to slow the spread of misinformation.
- Facebook plans to display election results, as determined by national media outlets, on posts from candidates who contest the results or declare early wins.
Timeline of Twitter policy changes<p>Twitter listed some of its recent policy changes, the most impactful of which was its decision to <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/twitter-political-ads" target="_self">ban political ads in late 2019</a>:</p><ul><li>1/2019 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2019/18_midterm_review.html" target="_blank">Issued</a> a comprehensive review of our efforts to protect the 2018 U.S. midterms</li><li>6/2019 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2019/publicinterest.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Launched</a> public interest notice and defined our approach on public interest</li><li>10/2019 - <a href="https://twitter.com/jack/status/1189634360472829952?lang=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Banned</a> all political ads on Twitter, including ads from <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2019/advertising_policies_on_state_media.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">state-controlled media</a></li><li>12/2019 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2019/helping-identify-2020-us-election-candidates-on-twitter.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Added</a> Election Labels to candidates' accounts</li><li>2/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/new-approach-to-synthetic-and-manipulated-media.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Introduced</a> our rules on and labels for synthetic and manipulated media</li><li>3/2020 - <a href="https://www.axios.com/2020-election-gatekeepers-chaos-scenarios-84181512-1fca-4b84-8c10-e95e02e95f61.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Held</a> planning exercises to prepare for a variety of Election Day scenarios</li><li>5/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/product/2020/updating-our-approach-to-misleading-information.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Added</a> labels and warnings to potentially harmful misleading information</li><li>8/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/product/2020/new-labels-for-government-and-state-affiliated-media-accounts.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Deployed</a> labels on government and state-affiliated media accounts</li><li>9/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/Improved-Account-Security-2020-US-Election.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Implemented</a> account security requirements for high-profile political accounts</li><li>9/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/2020-election-news.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Built</a> a U.S. Election hub containing credible news and voting resources</li><li>9/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/empowering-US-voters.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Encouraged</a> voter registration and emphasizing safe voting options</li><li>9/2020 - <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/civic-integrity-policy-update.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Expanded</a> our civic integrity policy to include specifics around pre and post election day</li></ul>
Credit: Facebook<p>Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, plans to temporarily hide hashtags on all "recent" posts, the company wrote on its <a href="https://help.instagram.com/861508690592298" target="_blank">website</a>:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Recent posts from all hashtags may be temporarily hidden to help prevent the spread of possible false information and harmful content related to the 2020 US election. Instagram is committed to <a href="https://help.instagram.com/388534952086572" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reducing the spread of false information </a>and <a href="https://help.instagram.com/658525634755793" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">giving people accurate information about voting</a>."</p><p>After the election, Facebook and Instagram plan to stop circulating all political ads in an effort to block misinformation about the outcome. The company said this ban should last a week.</p>
Partisan division has reached its peak, shows an alarming new study that identifies three crucial components.
- American political polarization has reached alarming heights, shows a new study.
- Democrats and Republicans hate the other side more than they love their own party.
- The polarization grows worse despite the fact that differences between the sides are not so dramatic.
A President Donald Trump and a former Vice President Joe Biden supporter talk before the Joe Biden Campaign Rally at the National World War I Museum and Memorial on March 7, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Credit: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
States set their own voting laws, so where does this make voting easiest?
- A new report out of Northern Illinois University lists how easy it is to vote in each state.
- The report can be compared to previous indexes, showing where it is getting easier and more difficult to vote.
- The authors also note that dramatically improving the ease of voting is simple and cost effective.
How the Laboratories of Democracy do with the whole “democracy” thing.<p> Political scientists <a href="https://www.niu.edu/clas/polisci/about/faculty-staff/schraufnagel.shtml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Scot Schraufnagel </a>of Northern Illinois University, <a href="https://www.ju.edu/directory/michael-pomante.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Michael J. Pomante</a> II of Jacksonville University, and Quan Li of Wuhan University in China compare the ease or difficulty of voting in each state with their "<a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/elj.2020.0666" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cost of Voting Index</a>."<br> </p><p>As in previous years, the research team created an index allowing them to rank each state's laws and regulations concerning aspects of <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/elj.2020.0666" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">voting</a>. </p><p>This included considerations of when voters had to register by, if felons could vote or register, if registration drives were allowed, if automatic registration policies existed, if voting was a state holiday, how many voting stations were in each state, how complex it is to request a mail-in ballot, how long polling stations are open, how many documents are needed to register and vote, and other such concerns. <br> <br> Taken together, these questions consider all facets of being able to vote, from how difficult it is to register to the trouble of actually getting your ballot, either by mail or in person. Each issue was broken down into various considerations and scored. Those considerations that made voting more difficult (for example, a rule not allowing felons to register to vote while in jail) earned more points than those that made voting more accessible. </p><p>For determining how polling hours and the number of days polls were open impacted voters, the average number of poll hours and the number of early voting days were reverse coded, meaning that more time to vote contributed to a lower score. </p><p>After scoring the states, the researchers organized them in a convenient list with the states where voting is most straightforward on top. </p>
Where democracy is easiest to do<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYzNTM2Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjk1NjU5OH0.DioH6lPzApgXZq4A-ZCoQbO91GnBLJ2s2dD7-NatKBU/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C87%2C0%2C87&height=700" id="0bdb3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd0284418b32e0b24b4d32b79bf043c1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A map showing where voting is easy (low numbers) and where it is more difficult (high numbers).
Northern Illinois University<p> As you can see from the above map, Oregon retained its top spot on the strength of its automatic voter registration policies, extensive vote by mail program, and myriad opportunities to vote early. Washington and Utah, with their similar vote by mail programs, round out the top three. <br> <br> Despite lacking the same vote by mail programs as the previously mentioned states, Illinois made it to fourth place on the strength of its absentee voting policies.</p><p>The other end of the scale features Texas, Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi. Texas earned its low score partly because of its declining number of places to vote and registration cut off 30 days before the <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/niu-hhi102820.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">election</a>. </p>
Where are the ratings going up? Where are they going down?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V1FCdfK8gTY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> By comparing these results with those of 2016, it is no issue to see where voting is getting easier and where it is getting more difficult. Perhaps more importantly, it allows us to see what policies can cause which outcomes.</p><p> Those interested in making it easier to vote in their state can look to the reforms passed in Virginia and Michigan for inspiration. This year, Virginia's state government passed a slew of reforms making <a href="https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/april/headline-856055-en.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">voting more accessible</a>, including an automatic voter registration law and the designation of election day as a holiday. This allowed the state to move up 37 spots to its current position of 12. </p><p>Michigan passed similar reforms by referendum in <a href="https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/opinion/contributors/viewpoints/2020/10/28/dont-let-covid-19-stop-you-voting-viewpoint/6040606002/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018</a>, allowing it to move up 32 spots to 13. </p><p>They can also take heart at the authors' references to studies showing that some of these reforms, such as online voter registration, actually reduce the administrative costs of running elections, making them very attractive for those interested in governmental efficiency. Additionally, lead author Scot Schraufnagel suggests that making it simpler to vote can increase turnout.</p><p>On the other hand, if you want to make it more difficult to vote, the index shows you how to achieve that too. </p><p>West Virginia, Missouri, and Iowa all fell 19 spots over the last four years. Co-author Michael J. Pomante explains that these declines are caused in part by the lack of "a willingness to modernize their policies to ease the difficultly of voting and stay current with election law trends we see in many other states." <br> <br> It is worth noting that this report was published on October 13<sup> </sup>and was based on information collected before that time. Some of the ratings might be slightly outdated in light of shifting rules on where and when ballots can be returned in some <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/us/supreme-court-wisconsin-ballots.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">states</a>. However, the report does include a separate section for changes made in response to the pandemic.</p><p>Curiously, while many states in the middle of the pack moved around dramatically in the rankings due to their responses, the top and bottom four appear to have remained the same. <br> <br> How straightforward voting is in the United States is highly variable based on where you live. While some states strive to make it as easy as possible, others retain laws making participation in our democracy burdensome and time-consuming. This index provides a way to understand how our democracy evolves over time and what makes it more accessible to more people. </p><p>What will be done with that information is up to the people. </p>
Younger Americans support expanding the Supreme Court and serious political reforms, says new poll.
- Americans under 40 largely favor major political reforms, finds a new survey.
- The poll revealed that most would want to expand the Supreme Court, impose terms limits, and make it easier to vote.
- Millennials are more liberal and reform-centered than Generation Z.
Researchers found a common element in the destruction of even the most powerful empires.
- Researchers found a commonality between the collapse of ancient empires.
- Even the best-run nations fell apart because of leaders who undermined social contracts.
- The scientists found that societies that had good governments broke up even worse than those with dictators.
The ruins of the Roman Forum, which served as representational government.
Credit: Linda Nicholas / Field Museum