Twitter adds special election labels to verify 2020 candidate accounts

The feature was first used during the 2018 midterm elections

Twitter said it's bringing back special labels to make it easier for users to identify candidates running in the 2020 election.

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The feature was first used during the 2018 midterm elections and is meant, in part, to ease concerns over the social network’s new ban on paid political ads that could hurt emerging politicians. In October, Twitter announced that it was pulling all political ads on its platform while Facebook announced it would no longer fact-check political ads.

Twitter said it will verify candidates running for office with a blue check and a special election label that will provide specifics such as what office a person is running for and where. Many political candidates are already verified, but the move would help boost credibility to opposing voices and new faces on the platform.

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“When voters look for the latest breaking news and political commentary during an election, they turn to Twitter to find it directly from the source,” said Bridget Coyne, Twitter's public policy manager.

July 9, 2019, a sign outside of the Twitter office building in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Twitter, along with Facebook and other social media companies, has been under heavy scrutiny for allowing their services to be misused by malicious individuals and groups trying to influence elections around the world.

Facebook also verifies accounts for public figures and celebrities, while YouTube verifies official channels. But they don’t go as far as adding election labels.

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Labels will be used only for general election candidates and will start appearing once candidates have won their parties’ primaries or have otherwise qualified for the general election ballot.

Twitter said it will apply the labels in House, Senate and gubernatorial races. Presidential candidates are not included in Twitter’s new policies. The 2020 presidential candidates are already all verified and Twitter says if more join the race, they will get verified too. The company says it won’t apply election labels to presidential candidates but may do so down the road.

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Major presidential candidates already have blue checkmarks to indicate that Twitter has confirmed the accounts are legitimate. Many candidates for House, Senate and gubernatorial races have them as well.

Twitter said Thursday it will verify additional accounts, even if candidates do not seek them, by working with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ballotpedia. Twitter said the verifications will happen on a rolling basis as candidates qualify for next year’s primaries.

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The Associated Press and FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.