German election Twitter 'leaks' not from exit polls

7th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dozens of short messages appeared on the Twitter site before voting ended on September 27, many of which had data very close to the scores revealed by the official exit polls.

Berlin -- Broadly accurate results from Germany's general election that surfaced on the Twitter microblogging site hours before polling closed were not based on exit poll data, officials said Tuesday after a probe.

"The results of our investigation show that no results from exit polls were published," a spokesman from the federal election commission told AFP.

"Therefore, there is no question of the vote being influenced," he added.

Dozens of short messages appeared on the Twitter site before voting ended at 6:00 pm on September 27, many of which had data very close to the scores revealed by the official exit polls.

It is illegal to make public exit poll data before voting has finished because people who have yet to cast their ballot could be influenced.

Those breaking this law face fines of up to 50,000 euros (74,000 dollars). In extreme cases, premature exit poll results could lead to legal challenges against the election result.

Although several "tweets" -- the name given to the messages of less than 140 characters posted on Twitter -- had figures that corresponded closely to the final results, others were way off the mark, however.

German politicians were enraged in late August when exit polls for state elections were leaked early on Twitter before voting ended.

At the time, the deputy parliamentary head of Merkel's Christian Democrats, Wolfgang Bosbach, said the leaking of the results "damaged democracy."

AFP/Expatica

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