Twitter beefs up tweet policing ahead of midterms amid debunking of secure 2020 election narrative
Despite platform's insistence on irreproachable security, fairness of 2020 election, evidence of irregularities and inequities is abundant — and mounting.
Twitter on Wednesday announced the expansion of Birdwatch, a fact-checking program the social media platform began testing last year that has contributors flag "misleading" tweets with "notes that provide informative context."
In a product announcement two months prior to the November midterm elections, Twitter said it was updating its Birdwatch onboarding process, expanding its contributor base and elevating the visibility of its information-policing notes.
Users who see a Birdwatch note on a tweet are 20-40% less likely to agree with "a potentially misleading Tweet" and "15-35% less likely to Like or Retweet a Tweet" than those who see the tweet by itself, Twitter reported.
Twitter announced in January that it had not been enforcing its "civic integrity policy" with regard to so-called "lies" about the 2020 election since March 2021. The policy was responsible for 300,000 tweets receiving contextual labels for content deemed potentially misleading or disputed over the last couple of weeks of the 2020 presidential election.
Many Twitter fact-checks related to the 2020 presidential election have since been debunked as evidence of irregularities marring the election — especially in the swing states critical to Joe Biden's election — has continued to accumulate in the intervening two years.
During the 2020 race, Twitter took down the New York Post's story on the Hunter Biden laptop, which was labeled "Russian disinformation" by the mainstream media, despite the story being accurate — as leading outlets, including the New York Times and The Washington Post, came to acknowledge long after the election was over
Twitter fact checks claimed that mail-in voting was secure despite the warnings about the vulnerability of mail-in voting to election fraud sounded in the 2005 report of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform cochaired by former President Jimmy Carter, as well as numerous issues with mail-in ballots reported during the 2020 presidential election.
Following Election Day, Twitter slapped numerous tweets about the 2020 election with the warning "This claim about election fraud is disputed." The ubiquitous warning eventually became an internet meme, with social media users — including celebrities and corporations — posting random facts or jokes accompanied by their own "disputed" label.
Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.
Notwithstanding Twitter's insistence on the security and fairness of the 2020 presidential election, the evidence of irregularities and inequities is abundant — and mounting. Here are 26 examples:
- Corrupt conduct — Ex-Prince William County voter registrar Michele White has been charged by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares with two felony counts alleging corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement, and one misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official. The county's Office of Elections said White's conduct "did not impact the outcome of any election contest" and was discovered by her successor.
Felons voting — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in August that 20 convicted felons were charged with felonies for allegedly voting illegally in the 2020 election in the state.
Voter fraud in Wisconsin — As many as 22 voter fraud referrals for the 2020 election have been made over the past year by local clerks, according to a Wisconsin Elections Commission report.
Missed mail-in ballots — On Aug. 5, 26 mail-in ballots for the 2020 election that had never been delivered to their intended voters were discovered in a U.S. Postal Service in Baltimore.
Illegal voting in Ohio — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has referred four people for prosecution after they allegedly voted twice, once in Ohio and once in another state. In addition, 11 illegal immigrants were referred to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost for prosecution in August, with 10 allegedly registering to vote and one who may have illegally voted. LaRose also referred 62 people suspected of election fraud for prosecution in February.
Illegal ballot drop boxes — The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the 570 drop boxes used during the 2020 election were unlawfully approved by the Wisconsin Election Commission. "Only the legislature may permit absentee voting via ballot drop boxes," the court declared. "WEC cannot. Ballot drop boxes appear nowhere in the detailed statutory system for absentee voting. WEC's authorization of ballot drop boxes was unlawful." State Rep. Janel Brandtjen told Just the News that hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in the illegal drop boxes in the 2020 race, in which Joe Biden was certified the winner over Donald Trump by fewer than 21,000 votes.
- A foreign intrusion — Federal authorities have confirmed that two Iranian nationals successfully hacked into a state computer election system, stole 100,000 voter registrations and used the data to carry out a cyber-intimidation campaign that targeted GOP members of Congress, Trump campaign officials and Democratic voters in the November 2020 election in one of the largest foreign intrusions in U.S. election history. The defendants "were part of a coordinated conspiracy in which Iranian hackers sought to undermine faith and confidence in the U.S. presidential election," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams declared in an indictment.
- The laptop lie — More than 50 national security experts, countless news organizations and large social media firms falsely told American voters in fall 2020 that the Hunter Biden laptop with damning revelations about Biden family corruption was Russian disinformation. In fact, the laptop was authentic and already in the FBI's possession, and Hunter Biden was already under criminal investigation before voters cast their 2020 ballots. The false narrative had significant impact. According to a Polling Company survey for the Media Research Center, 45.1% of Biden voters were unaware of the censored laptop story. "According to our poll," MRC's Newsbusters reported, "full awareness of the Hunter Biden scandal would have led 9.4% of Biden voters to abandon the Democratic candidate, flipping all six of the swing states he won to Trump, giving the President 311 electoral votes."
- Alleged bribery — The former state Supreme Court justice appointed by the Wisconsin Legislature to investigate the 2020 election concluded that millions of dollars in donations to election administrators in five Democrat-heavy municipalities from the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life violated state anti-bribery laws and corrupted election practices by turning public election authorities into liberal get-out-the-vote activists. "The Zuckerberg-funded CTCL/ Zuckerberg 5 scheme would prove to be an effective way to accomplish the partisan effort to 'turnout' their desired voters and it was done with the active support of the very people and the governmental institution (WEC) that were supposed to be guarding the Wisconsin elections administrative process from the partisan activities they facilitated," Justice Michael Gableman wrote.
- Illegal ballot harvesting in Wisconsin — Gableman also exposed an extensive ballot harvesting operation in nursing homes involving third-party activists illegally collecting the ballots of vulnerable residents. State election regulators "unlawfully directed the municipal clerks not to send out the legally required special voting deputies to nursing homes, resulting in many nursing homes' registered residents voting at 100% rates and many ineligible residents voting, despite a guardianship order or incapacity," Gableman wrote in his explosive report.
- Georgia ballot harvesting probe — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger opened a criminal investigation into allegations that liberal activists engaged in ballot harvesting prohibited under state law. Raffensperger said he was planning to issue subpoenas to identify a whistleblower who allegedly admitted he engaged in the operation, and there could be prosecutions. The True the Vote election integrity group alleged in a formal state complaint that the man admitted his role and identified nonprofits who funded it at $10 per ballot delivered. The watchdog group also claimed it had assembled cell phone location records pinpointing the alleged harvesting by as many as 240 activists.
- Bad voter signatures? — A review of Maricopa County's mail-in ballots in Arizona's 2020 presidential election estimated that more than 200,000 ballots with signatures that did not match voter files were counted without being reviewed, more than eight times the number the county acknowledged.
- 50,000 Arizona ballots called into question — An extensive audit ordered by Arizona's Senate officially called into question more than 50,000 ballots cast in the 2020 election — a total nearly five times Joe Biden's official margin of victory in the state.
- Foreign voters found on Texas rolls — An audit of Texas voter rolls identified nearly 12,000 noncitizens suspected of illegally registering to vote and nearly 600 cases in which ballots may have been cast in the name of a dead resident or by a voter who may have also voted in another state. Officials are now in the process of removing the foreign voters and deciding whether prosecutions are warranted.
- Foreign voters found on Georgia rolls — An audit by Georgia’s Secretary of State has identified more than 2,000 suspected foreigners who tried to register to vote in the state, though none reached the point of casting ballots. Raffensperger has said prosecutions may be forthcoming.
- More noncitizen voters — The Gableman investigation in Wisconsin also found noncitizens had made it onto state voter rolls in violation of state law. The Wisconsin Election Commission failed "to record non-citizens in the WisVote voter database, thereby permitting non-citizens to vote, even though Wisconsin law requires citizenship to vote — all in violation of the Help America Vote Act," the investigator wrote.
- Election machine vulnerabilities — Immediately after the November 2020 elections, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency declared there was no hacking or machine vulnerabilities. The Iran hacking case disproved the first claim. And in June, the Department of Homeland Security admitted in a new report that the popular Dominion Democracy Suite ImageCast X voting system had nine vulnerabilities, most of which include the ability to "install malicious code" on the machines. Federal officials say they don't know of any efforts to exploit those vulnerabilities in 2020, but the reversal in stories has significantly shaken confidence in the bureaucracy's assurances.
- Chain of custody issues — The Georgia Secretary of State's office has opened an investigation into the handling of drop box ballots last November in one of the state's Democratic strongholds following a media report that there were problems with chain of custody documentation in DeKalb County.
- Fulton County irregularities — Georgia's handpicked election monitor for Fulton County, the state's largest voting district, documented two dozen pages' worth of mismanagement and irregularities during vote counting in Atlanta in November 2020, including double-scanning of ballots, insecure transport of ballots and violations of voter privacy. The revelations prompted the state to take steps to possibly put Fulton County in receivership, empowering state officials to run the elections. Most of Fulton County's election officials have left their jobs.
- Errant vote counting — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp referred the audited November 2020 election results in Fulton County to the State Election Board after multiple reviews found three dozen significant problems with absentee ballot counting, including duplicate tallies, math errors and transposed data. Kemp's referral calls into question hundreds of ballots in the official count.
- Dirty voter rolls — Michigan's official state auditor has found that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson failed to adhere to state election law by properly updating and reconciling Michigan's qualified voter roll. This failure, according to the audit, increased the risk of ineligible voters casting ballots.
- Illegal exemptions from voter ID — The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled as many as 200,000 voters were illegally allowed to skip voter ID for absentee ballots by claiming they were indefinitely confined by COVID when there was no legal authority to do so. Biden beat Trump by about 20,000 votes in the state.
- Uneven enforcement of election laws — The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau identified more than 30 problems with the administration of elections in 2020, including unlawful orders and uneven enforcement of the law and urged lawmakers to make sweeping improvements.
- More illegal harvesting — In Arizona, a half dozen people have already been indicted on charges of illegal harvesting in a probe by Attorney General Mark Brnovich that shows signs of expanding. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Democrats' arguments and concluded Arizona's ban on harvesting was constitutional.
- Voter fraud in Michigan — Michigan charged three women in connection with voter fraud schemes, including efforts to cast ballots on behalf of nonconsenting nursing home residents.
- Still more nursing home fraud — In Wisconsin, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling announced that his investigators secured evidence that eight out of 42 residents recorded as casting absentee ballots at a local nursing home lacked the cognitive ability to vote, according to their families.
Here is a required reading list for anyone interested in the above issues:
Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling Invalidating Ballot Drop Boxes
The Gableman Report
The CISA Dominion Voting Machines Vulnerabilities Reports
Iranian Hackers Indictment
Georgia state memo on irregularities in Fulton County vote counting
Kemp referral on erroneous vote counting
Georgia Ballot Harvesting Complaint
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- announced the expansion of Birdwatch
- users who see a Birdwatch note
- Twitter announced in January
- 300,000 tweets receiving contextual labels
- ban MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's Twitter account
- several accounts linked to state audits
- mail-in voting was safe and legitimate
- 2005 bipartisan commission
- two felony counts alleging corrupt conduct
- 20 convicted felons were charged with felonies
- 22 voter fraud referrals
- 26 mail-in ballots for the 2020 election
- Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled
- two Iranian nationals successfully hacked into a state computer election system
- pre-election censorship of the story amounted to election interference,
- opened a criminal investigation into allegations that liberal activists engaged in illegal ballot harvesting
- review of Maricopa County's mail-in ballots
- audit by Arizona's Senate
- audit of Texas voter rolls
- media report
- documented two dozen pages of mismanagement and irregularities
- state to take steps to possibly put Fulton County in receivership
- Kemp referred the audited November 2020 election results
- Wisconsin Supreme Court
- Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau
- In Arizona, a half dozen people have already been indicted on charges of illegal harvesting
- Michigan charged three women
- Racine County Sheriff