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Twitter’s rules address worries over ‘peaceful transfer of power’ in US election

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Twitter announced expanded efforts to fight misinformation ahead of the U.S. election — with at least a few hair-raising lines that throw November’s stakes into sharp relief.

The company is making a game plan for what happens if the results of the 2020 election are unclear or contested, with a handful of newly articulated policies set to go into effect on September 17.

Twitter now plans to either remove or attach a warning label to any claims of victory prior to election results being official. The policy change specifically mentions that it will take action on any tweets “inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession” — a shocking phrase to read about an American election, but a relevant one nonetheless.

“We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections,” Twitter’s Safety team wrote. “Any attempt to do so — both foreign and domestic — will be met with strict enforcement of our rules, which are applied equally and judiciously for everyone.”

Plenty of President Trump’s critics have expressed fear that he might refuse to leave office if he loses in November, but so have the president’s former close allies. At a House Oversight Committee hearing last year, Trump’s own former attorney Michael Cohen expressed early concerns about that possible outcome.

“Given my experience working for President Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Cohen said.

At a rally last month, Trump said that after winning another four years in office “we’ll go for another four years because they spied on my campaign,” saying that he should have a “redo.” While his supporters might read the statement as a joke, Trump’s critics see a president again testing the waters with an outrageous and undemocratic claim.

Twitter also said that it will remove or add a label to any tweets presenting false or misleading information about laws around civic processes, and the officials and institutions overseeing them. That rule could pertain to a wide swath of voting-related misinformation, including false claims around who can vote and what documents they need to show, if any.

The company will also act on any “disputed claims” that might cast doubt on voting, including “unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results.”

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Social networks are keenly aware of the looming threats to democracy lurking in November’s election, even if they’re rarely able or willing to come out and name them. Gaming out possible nightmare scenarios is a worthwhile exercise for Twitter and other platforms as they gird themselves for a flood of misinformation from users, foreign campaigns and political figures alike come November.

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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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