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Twitter is bringing back Election Labels to identify 2020 US election candidates

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With just less than a year until U.S. Election Day, Twitter is bringing back its Election Labels, which provide information about political candidates — including which office they’re running for and their state and district number. The labels will also have a small ballot box icon to accompany this information. The feature was first launched during the 2018 U.S. midterms, where the labels were seen 100 million times per day by Twitter users in the week before Election Day.

In addition, 13% of U.S. election-related conversations on Twitter included a tweet with an Election Label, the company says.

Now the labels are making a return ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections.

The labels will appear on accounts of candidates who are running for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate or Governor in the 2020 election who have qualified for the general election ballot, says Twitter. And they will begin to appear on candidates’ Twitter accounts after they qualify, which will happen on a rolling basis as states have different caucus and election dates, the company notes. The first takes place on March 3.

To enable the feature, Twitter has again partnered with Ballotpedia, a civic nonprofit that publishes non-partisan information about federal, state and local politics. The organization will help Twitter identify which candidates have qualified for the general election ballot so their accounts can be appropriately labeled.

The Election Label will appear on the profile page of a candidate’s Twitter account and on every tweet and retweet they post to their account, even when embedded on sites off of Twitter.

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Ahead of this, Twitter today will also start to verify the campaign Twitter accounts of those who have qualified for primary elections for the U.S. House, Senate or Governor. This is different from how Twitter handled candidate verification during the 2018 midterms. Back then, it only verified candidates after they qualified for the general election ballot. This time around, Twitter says it will proactively verify the primary candidates.

This verification is the same checkmark other high-profile accounts receive — like those belonging to celebrities or other public figures. These verifications will start today and will continue on a rolling basis as states have different filing deadlines. Ballotpedia is also assisting on this effort as well, by helping Twitter identify the candidates.

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Twitter, like other social platforms, was heavily impacted by foreign interference with the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Last year, Twitter said that 1.4 million people interacted with Russian trolls during the presidential campaign, which is more than double the 677,775 that Twitter originally believed had either seen, followed or retweeted one of those accounts. These interference issues have been ongoing, as thousands of Twitter accounts spreading false information remained active in the weeks ahead of the U.S. midterms.

Bots continue today to infect the platform in an effort to sway public opinion. For example, in April, Twitter removed more than 5,000 bots with ties to a social media operation that previously promoted messages sympathetic to Saudi Arabia’s government. The bots had more recently been promoting the “Russiagate” hoax.

Disinformation efforts like this are not just impacting social platforms in the U.S., nor are they only associated with Russian bots. In a report released at the beginning of 2019, Twitter said it had banned more than 4,000 disinformation accounts originating in Russia, 3,300 from Iran and more than 750 from Venezuela.

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When Twitter first introduced the Election Labels for the U.S. midterms, it stressed how important it is for people using its platform to be able to identify the original sources and authentic information.

Today, Twitter’s system to label and verify politicians and candidates’ campaigns is now a part of a number of efforts Twitter has underway to make sure conversations taking place on its platform are authentic. The company says it will later release more tools to help better find quality news and have more informative conversations on Twitter.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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