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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: Arizona election equipment was certified before it was used in the midterms. An Arizona county did not ‘lose’ nearly 300,000 votes in the midterm election. A photo does not show a Balenciaga designer wearing a devil-like outfit. U.K. 2021 census data doesn't show that three of the country's largest cities have all become “minority white.” And a photo of beer disguised as Pepsi was taken at a border checkpoint in Saudi Arabia in 2015, not at the current World Cup in Qatar.
A top European Union official has warned Elon Musk that Twitter needs to beef up to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content to avoid violating new rules. The EU's commissioner for digital policy, Thierry Breton, told Musk on Wednesday that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the rules that threaten big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc if tech giants don’t comply. The two held a video call to discuss Twitter’s preparedness for the rules. Breton says Musk told him that the new EU rules were “a sensible approach to implement on a worldwide basis.”
Elon Musk says that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week. Friday's announcement is the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought last month for $44 billion, coming a day after Musk said he would grant “amnesty” for suspended accounts. Twitter previously suspended the premium service, which which under Musk granted blue-check labels to anyone paying $8 a month, because of a wave of imposter accounts. In the latest version, Musk said companies will get a gold check, governments will get a gray check, and individuals, whether or not they’re celebrities, will get a blue check.
New Twitter owner Elon Musk says he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation. The billionaire’s announcement Thursday came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%. After a similar highly unscientific poll last weekend, Musk reinstated the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.
European Union data shows that Twitter took longer to review hateful content and removed less of it in 2022 compared with the previous year. The figures were published Thursday as part of an annual evaluation of online platforms’ compliance with the bloc’s code of conduct on disinformation. Twitter wasn’t alone — most other tech companies signed up to the voluntary code also scored worse. But the figures could foreshadow trouble for Twitter in complying with the EU’s tough new online rules after owner Elon Musk fired many of the platform’s 7,500 full-time workers and an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation and other crucial tasks.
Elon Musk's Twitter has reinstated the personal account of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was banned in January for violating the platform's COVID misinformation policies. Greene's reinstatement follows the return Donald Trump's account to Twitter, though the former president has not tweeted and has said he would not. Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive. Before the U.S. midterm elections this month, he urged his “independent-minded” Twitter followers to vote Republican.
Across the country, government agencies, especially those tasked with sending messages during emergencies, have embraced Twitter over the last decade. Experts say that getting accurate information from authorities during disasters is often a matter of life or death. But amid a slew of changes at Twitter, the public information officers who operate government accounts are cautiously waiting out the turmoil and urging the public to verify the information that appears on timelines.
Democrat Katie Hobbs has been elected Arizona governor, defeating an ally of Donald Trump who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged and refused to say she would accept the results of her race this year. Hobbs, who is Arizona’s secretary of state, rose to prominence as a staunch defender of elections and warned that her Republican rival, former television news anchor Kari Lake, would be an agent of chaos. Hobbs’ victory Monday suggests Trump is weighing down his allies as the former president gears up for an announcement of a 2024 presidential run. Hobbs will succeed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who was prohibited by term limit laws from running again.
Michigan saw a record turnout for a midterm election, with control of the governor’s office and controversial referendums on abortion and voting rights in the balance. But with a heightened focus on voting problems and irregularities nationwide, reports of long lines of voters waiting to cast ballots late into the night Tuesday in the college community of Ann Arbor became a target for false information. Elections officials, government watchdog groups and other experts, however, said the election process was carried out according to state law.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has arrived at a crossroads. She could be forced to relinquish the gavel if Republicans win majority control of the House. Pelosi is the nation's first and only woman to become speaker. The uncertainty surrounding her future comes just weeks after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was brutally attacked when an intruder broke into the family home in California looking for the speaker. She was in Washington at the time. Speaker Pelosi has said the attack will affect her decision about whether to remain in Congress. She won her own re-election representing San Francisco. She has served for 35 years.