It's no secret that social media has had a tumultuous year.
From Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been under fire for its handling (or lack thereof) of user data. Meanwhile, Twitter has continued to be a go-to source for real-time news and commentary, but not without its own share of controversies.
Most recently, Twitter has been in the news for its role in the 2020 US Presidential Election.
Let's take a look at what's been going on with Twitter and what users can expect to see in the future from the app.
Twitter has been embroiled in controversy since the 2016 election, when it was revealed that Russian agents had used the platform to spread misinformation and interfere in the election.
Since then, Twitter has made a number of changes to try and prevent similar interference in future elections, including banning political ads and labeling tweets from world leaders that violate Twitter's rules but are still considered newsworthy.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Twitter took an even stronger stance against misinformation by flagging tweets that contained false or misleading information about voting with warning labels.
The move was praised by some as a necessary step to combat misinformation and protect democracy, while others criticized Twitter for what they saw as censorship. Regardless of your opinion on Twitter's decision, there's no doubt that the platform played a major role in shaping public discourse during the election.
Twitter was also embroiled in controversy this year over its handling of a New York Post article that contained unverified allegations about Hunter Biden, son of US President-elect Joe Biden. The article was based on emails allegedly obtained from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, which were reportedly found by repair shop employees and turned over to the FBI.
The article was widely shared on social media, including Twitter, but quickly came under fire for its lack of verification.
In response, Twitter began restricting users' ability to share links to the article, and ultimately decided to block users from tweeting links to it altogether. The move was criticized by some as an act of censorship, while others applauded Twitter for taking action against misinformation.
One thing we know for sure is that Donald Trump will not be returning to Twitter anytime soon. The former US President was a prolific user of Twitter throughout his tenure, using it as a megaphone to bypass traditional media outlets and speak directly to his supporters.
However, Trump's relationship with Twitter changed dramatically after the Capitol riot.
In response to Trump's repeated violations of its rules—including inciting violence—Twitter permanently banned him from the platform on January 8th.
What does the future hold for Twitter? That remains to be seen. What we do know is that 2020 has been a tumultuous year for social media—and Twitter is no exception. From its role in spreading misinformation during elections to its handling of sensitive stories like the Hunter Biden emails, twitter has faced criticism from all sides this year. Only time will tell how well it will weather these storms and come out on top in 2021—but one thing is for sure: we'll be watching closely.