Here’s how Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are handling Election Day

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube commit billions of dollars to enhance online security and deter misinformation

Major tech platforms have beefed up their cybersecurity operations for the 2020 election.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube funneled billions of dollars into new security plans for their platforms to ensure they will not be implicated in any election issues that may arise on or after Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

These moves come in the wake of disastrous manipulation campaigns taken by Russian hackers during the 2016 election. According to BBC, 12 Russian intelligence hackers were charged for using phishing emails, ransomware and stealing election data from a state website. 

Read More: Trump administration knew about Iran, Russia hacking weeks ago

Facebook, which began making changes in 2016 after being widely ridiculed for its handling of election fallout, now reportedly has a team of 35,000 people dedicated to make sure these issues don’t arise again.

Not only did Facebook begin monitoring suspicious accounts and activity, but the site also increased its transparency. They began allowing users to look through all of the political ads that are being purchased and agreed to monitor them for misinformation. They also made sure to highlight facts and promote verified information. 

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WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 29: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

“On Tuesday, an operations center with dozens of employees — what Facebook calls a ‘war room‘ — will work to identify efforts to destabilize the election,” wrote the New York Times.

Facebook will also dedicate space on its website for real-time results about election returns to deter users from declaring a victory before people cast their ballots, thus discouraging people to wait and vote. 

Read More: Trump preparing to declare premature victory

Twitter was one social platform that decided to disallow political advertising in its entirety. They said political reach should be earned rather than purchased.

Twitter also came under fire from conservatives after fact-checking a number of tweets from President Donald Trump. The tweets referenced Black Lives Matter and mail-in voting.

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SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 29: In this photo illustration a notification from Twitter appears on tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump that the social media platform says violated its policy on May 29, 2020 in San Anselmo, California. Twitter has started to flag some of President Trump’s tweets that violate the company’s terms. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Twitter also began removing tweets that could lead to voter intimidation.

Twitter said that the focus on Tuesday will be on cracking down on bots, as well as making sure its “explore” and “trends” features have accurate information.

Twitter has also agreed to label tweets from candidates who declare premature victory.

Read More: Twitter flags Trump tweet warning ‘violence in the streets’ over mail ballots

According to the New York Times, YouTube began making changes in 2017 after a group of men drove onto the London Bridge. The men reportedly watched racist videos on the site before the attack.

They have since changed their policies and algorithms so that inflammatory videos are either less accessible or taken down.

“Of course, we’re taking the elections incredibly seriously,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, said in an interview with NYT. “The foundational work that will play a really major role for all of this began three years ago when we really began the work in earnest in terms of our responsibility as a global platform.” 

On Tuesday, the site will be fact-checking live coverage and feature a playlist of live results. According to Mohan, besides a few changes, YouTube should be running as usual. If anything major comes up, it will be escalated and dealt with. 

The tech platforms also reportedly have “fears rising that violence may break out,” once the president is announced and have made changes to highlight and stop the spread of misinformation, according to the New York Times.

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