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The American election vs. social media

The American election vs. social media

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

After months of speculation and weeks of early voting, today is election day in the US. As the American population hit the polls (whether drive-thru or not), the social media giants are under huge scrutiny.

The role of social media and tech platforms in the democratic system cannot be ignored. Now more than ever, the spread of fake news, targeted adverts and echo-chamber hyperbole adds to the feeling of uncertainty.

Many people are asking what companies like Facebook and Twitter are doing to prevent this so we’ve outlined the steps the main platforms are taking ahead of the election – and in the true spirt of transparency, all sources are linked so you can dive in and explore more.

Twitter’s attempts to combat misinformation have included labelling Trump’s tweets as ‘potentially misleading’ back in June. This was the first time that platform fact-checked the President.

The tough stance on misinformation continues – Twitter has since confirmed that after election day candidates won’t be permitted to claim on Twitter that they’ve won the election before a declared result. Candidates also cannot tweet or retweet content that encourages interference with the election process. If this does happen, Twitter says it will direct people to resources with accurate, up-to-date information about the election status.

Twitter has not avoided scandal however as the platform (along with Facebook) took measures to limit the spread of an article on the scandal surrounding Biden’s son published by the New York Post. The platform explained their policies and the resulting rollback of the restrictions for the article in a recent thread.

Facebook has naturally been at the centre of the debate. Last month, the platform removed a post from President Trump in which he falsely claimed that Covid-19 is less deadly than the seasonal flu. Facebook has now confirmed it will be labelling misinformation on voting as well.

Facebook has now also teamed up with Reuters to supply accurate election results on the night and in the days after the election. Nick Clegg told the FT’s Hannah Murphy that there were some “break-glass options available to us” in extreme scenarios – but did not elaborate as to what they may be.

The platform has come under increased scrutiny after a “technical glitch” in their handling of political ads on the platform. They had sought to restrict new political ads from appearing in the week before the election, but instead also caused an unstated number of old political ads to not appear at all. This is another blow for Facebook and its reputation for being able to handle political advertising – and it doesn’t look good as the platform routinely tries to block ad tracking tools, such as one by NYU. Its commitment to ad transparency is starting to look like an empty promise to many.

Google is working with the Associated Press (AP) to provide authoritative election results. In the days after the election if you search for “Who won the election?” Google search will direct you to AP’s updated results. Google has also said it will pause ads referring to the 2020 election, the candidates, or its outcome after election day. Google says it has done this to limit the potential for ads to increase confusion post-election.

This year, the period between the polls closing and the declared result will be longer than usual – a few days, if not weeks. If his tweet back in July is anything to go by, Trump may not be happy to wait….

If Trump is going to declare victory, it’s likely he’ll do it via Twitter and Facebook. And these platforms have said – unequivocally – that they will not allow him to do that.

The next 24 hours will be like no other…

LinkedIn has continued to grow during the pandemic. The platform has reached a record 772 million members and has launched its own story feature, LinkedIn Stories, globally. According to Microsoft, LinkedIn sessions grew by 31% with “record levels” of engagement.

The success of LinkedIn will not come as a surprise to many of you, when you think about all the people turning to the platform following job cuts from the pandemic. With this in mind, the social media giant has announced a range of new tools to assist job seekers, including training and discovery direct in the app.

The biggest addition is LinkedIn Career Explorer, which shows you potential career paths based on the skill you have. This is based on over 36,000 career skills and 6,000 job titles. You can check it out for yourself here.

This week we look at remembrance during lockdown:

With another lockdown looming, it is looking like it will be increasingly difficult to attend physical events in the near future.

One event that this will directly impact in the UK is Remembrance Sunday, taking place on November 8th. Every year, volunteers distribute over 40 million poppies to help support the Armed Forces community. However due to COVID-19, many volunteers are unable to help and the remembrance services that take place up and down the UK have been cancelled. People in Britain can still participate by watching the annual remembrance day service either on BBC One, Sky and ITV, and pause for the Two Minute Silence in their home or on their doorstep.

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