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Monday, March 21, 2022

Newsletter: Twitter announces inaugural partnership with COMELEC to promote healthy conversations during the 2022 Philippine General Election


Manila, 18 March 2022 – The public conversation on Twitter is never more important than during elections. It’s when people come to Twitter for credible information about the elections, to learn about candidates and their platforms, and to engage in healthy civic debate and conversation.

In the lead up to the 2022 General Election in the Philippines, Twitter has partnered with the Commission on Elections (@COMELEC) to amplify voter education initiatives on the policy, product and partnership front to protect the integrity of election-centric conversations on the platform and encourage healthy civic debate.

“With a record-breaking 65.7 million registered voters, the Philippines is expected to hold one of the largest elections in Asia. During this most important time for us as a nation; collaboration between governments, industry partners and civic organisations is crucial to protect the integrity of the elections. We are pleased to be partnering with Twitter to fight misinformation and encourage voter participation,” said James B. Jimenez, Director of Education and Information Department, COMELEC. 
Fostering civic participation with customised emojis during the elections
From presidential and vice presidential debates to voting results, every election is defined by key moments in time. To unite people around election conversations on Twitter, we have launched a series of customised emojis that aim to be valuable visual links to aid the discoverability of election-related discussions. The emojis will run throughout the campaign period and will be available until 27 May. 

From 16 March: Activated by the hashtag #PilipinasDebates2022 and #AskPilipinasDebates, this emoji is inspired by the microphone used during debates and the Philippine flag.

From 31 March: 
For election-related conversation, Twitter is launching a special emoji that features a ballot box, a universal symbol for elections, set in front of the Philippine flag, which represents the united hope of Filipinos for a clean and safe elections. The emoji can be activated by the hashtags #NLE2022, #2022NLE, #BumotoKa, #Halalan2022, #Piniliay2022, #HIJAlalan2022, #PHVote, #PHVoteResults, and #WeDecide.

Taking inspiration from COMELEC’s Vote S.A.F.E. Pilipinas campaign, an emoji featuring the silhouette of a female, who represents Inang Bayan or the Motherland, will be activated by use of the hashtag #VoteSafePilipinas.

Additionally, online search prompts will be available to facilitate access to authoritative sources of information on voting in both Filipino and English languages. The search prompt is a notification service that connects people to credible information about the elections. When searching for keywords associated with the Philippine General Election such as “NLE 2022,” “Vote Philippines” and “General Election”; the search result will show a notification at the top, directing people to the latest credible election information from COMELEC or VoteSAFEPilipinas.

Example of a search prompt

Activating election-focused prompts and warnings on misleading Tweets
Twitter is a space where everyone, from seasoned to first-time voters, will be able to source information and diverse perspectives. 

Since our stance to ban political ads in 2019 and in line with our Civic Integrity Policy, we are reinforcing our policies against manipulating or interfering in elections. This includes labelling misleading Tweets to provide additional context, and to help reduce the visibility of misleading information. We may remove or label Tweets that contain:
False or misleading information on participation in the elections and the voting process; 
False or misleading information intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the election. For example, falsely stating that polling places are closed; or
False or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in the election;

We may also remove accounts or content that falsely misrepresent affiliation to a candidate, elected official, political party, electoral authority, or government entity.

Example of Civic Integrity Labels applied to Tweets

We’ve also formed an internal elections group to lead our electoral integrity work from now through polling day. Using our proprietary-built internal tools, the team will proactively protect Trends on Twitter in the Philippines, support partner escalations, and identify potential threats from malicious actors. Cross-functional by design, we have a dedicated and specially trained team, consisting of the company’s top trust and safety experts with local language capabilities and a deep understanding of local contexts. This blend of perspectives, expertise, and backgrounds is absolutely critical in addressing issues that arise from the elections.

Partnering to strengthen our efforts to bring voters reliable and relevant information
With COMELEC announcing more than four million new voters belonging to the 18 to 21 age group,  the upcoming elections will see a significant number of first-time voters, including younger Millennials and Gen Zs, who will be flocking in to join election-focused conversations. 

To support the diverse voter base, Twitter is partnering and working together with a wide range of partner organisations to ensure Twitter is a place for healthy public conversation. Together with the following partner organisations; we will be hosting and/or promoting a series of events on Twitter to educate voters on the elections process, fight against misinformation, and foster healthy discussions around election-specific issues:  
#FactsFirstPH (@FactsFirstPH)
Foundation for Media Alternatives (@FMA_PH) 
GMA News (@gmanews) 
Legal Network for Truthful Elections (@lente_ph) 
National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (@NAMFREL)
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (@NUJP), and
Plan International Philippines (@planphilippines), coordinator of #HIJAlalan2022 - an initiative of girls’ rights groups in the Philippines forwarding a girls’ electoral agenda.

“At Twitter, protecting the integrity of public conversation during elections is core to our mission. Our policies are designed to help protect against inauthentic information and safeguard healthy public conversations. Drawing on insights and lessons from previous elections, both globally and in the Philippines, we have implemented products, policies, and enforcement updates to protect and support the conversation taking place during the course of the upcoming election,” said Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, Head of Public Policy, Government and Philanthropy for Twitter in Southeast Asia. 

“Platforms like Twitter are where important election related conversations are taking place. We are closely monitoring abusive behaviour, this includes content in Filipino, and will not tolerate any rule-violating activities, such as spam,” added Monrawee. “Together with COMELEC, non-profit organisations and other trusted partners on the ground; we continue to harness the power of the #OpenInternet to strengthen civic dialogue and encourage quality participation during this important Philippine General Election.”


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