Twitter launched a new event page Tuesday that’s dedicated to the upcoming midterm elections. Dubbed #Midterms2018, it features tweets from politicians, journalists and pundits who are talking about voting Nov. 6.
But the page is also showing tweets from bots, trolls and people with deeply partisan rhetoric, according to BuzzFeed.
Some of the tweets are coming from accounts with only a handful of followers — indicating a possible bot — and others are coming from divisive figures, like Dinesh D’Souza and Bill Mitchell, who are prone to promoting anti-Democrat conspiracy theories.
Tweets with hashtags like #BuildTheWall and #JobsNotMobs are coming from pro-Trump accounts, while left-leaning hashtags like #BlueWave are also being surfaced. Some of the tweets in the midterms page also say things that are entirely false, such as a retweet from MAGAcaine Mitch that claims “there are reporters now threatening to dox private citizens on Twitter.”
Over the past year, Twitter has dealt with revelations that Russian-linked social media troll accounts may have influenced the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Twitter told congressional investigators in January that Russian bots shared Donald Trump’s tweets almost 470,000 times between Sept. 1 and Nov. 15 in 2016. During that same time frame, the Russian-linked accounts retweeted candidate Hillary Clinton less than 50,000 times.
Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, has also been scrutinized by Congress over dissemination of false news and advertisements in an attempt to influence US elections. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, trolls work both sides of the same issue, with the primary goal to misinform and create a political divide.
Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about #Midterms2018. But it did tell BuzzFeed that it created an algorithm for the page that added the tweets based on keywords. The company didn’t say what those keywords are. Twitter also said that this midterms page is similar to the pages it creates for other major events, like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards.
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