Election Results: Tracking Viral Disinformation

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has spread a litany of falsehoods and conspiracy theories in media appearances and social media over the past week.

Mr. Giuliani, who has a long history of fudging the truth and who has led the Trump campaign’s largely unsuccessful legal fight over the election, has focused particularly on debunked claims of barred poll workers and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about a voting software company affecting the election’s outcome.

In interviews on Fox News, Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly claimed that Democratic officials blocked Republican poll watchers from observing ballot counting in “10 different crooked Democratic cities,” including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Reno, Phoenix and Atlanta. And in the counties where Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are, he has said, the lack of access affected over 680,000 votes.

There’s no evidence to support any of these allegations. Mr. Trump’s own legal filings acknowledged the presence of Republican

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Election Results: Live Tracker of Viral Disinformation

Disinformation about election fraud is thriving on YouTube, and right-wing outlets that most aggressively push false information are gaining new, conservative viewers on the video service, according to new research.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has not taken down videos challenging the outcome of the election, including content that spreads false allegations. Instead, the company has said that it is fighting disinformation by elevating authoritative news sources in search results and recommendations, while slowing the spread of so-called borderline content — videos that bump up against its policies but do not violate them.

But data from an independent research project called Transparency Tube found that fringe, right-wing news channels aggressively pushing unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud are gaining a larger share of views among conservative YouTube channels than before the election.

At the same time, Fox News, which has been more reserved in promoting unsubstantiated claims of a

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One America News, ‘Stop The Steal’ Rallies: Live Tracker of Viral Disinformation

The country song has a jaunty, folksy cadence and offers the false narrative that the Democrats stole the election. It has also gone viral on social media, turning the ditty by a 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Pensacola, Fla., into a protest anthem for President Trump’s supporters.

“When I went to sleep Trump had the lead,” begins the song, which is called “Pallets Full of Ballots.” It continues: “They found pallets full of ballots at 3 a.m. All the way from Georgia to Michigan.”

The song, which erroneously suggests that Democrats stuffed “pallets full of ballots” to try and swing the vote, underlines how President Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud are infiltrating popular culture.

By Thursday, a video of the song had logged more than 650,000 views on YouTube, a week after it was posted. It was also released on Spotify. While YouTube affixed a label to the video of the

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One America News Spreads Debunked Election Claims: Live Disinformation Tracker

President Trump on Thursday spread new baseless claims about Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software that local governments around the nation use to help run their elections, fueling a conspiracy theory that Dominion “software glitches” changed vote tallies in Michigan and Georgia last week.

The Dominion software was used in only two of the five counties that had problems in Michigan and Georgia, and in every instance there was a detailed explanation for what had happened. In all of the cases, software did not affect the vote counts.

In the two Michigan counties that had mistakes, the inaccuracies were because of human errors, not software problems, according to the Michigan Department of State, county officials and election-security experts. Only one of the two Michigan counties used Dominion software.

Issues in three Georgia counties had other explanations. In one county, an apparent problem with Dominion software delayed officials’ reporting of the

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Parler surges in popularity as Big Tech cracks down on election disinformation

with Tonya Riley

The right-leaning app Parler is surging in popularity after tech companies cracked down on President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. 

The Twitter alternative that pitches itself as a haven for free speech became the top new app download over the weekend in Apple’s App Store. The company had 7.6 millions user accounts as of Monday, compared to 4.5 million about a week ago, Parler’s chief operating officer Jeffrey Wernick told my colleagues Elizabeth Dwoskin and Rachel Lerman



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump Photographer: Martin H. Simon/Pool/Bloomberg


© Martin H. Simon/Bloomberg
Donald Trump Photographer: Martin H. Simon/Pool/Bloomberg

Wernick says that Facebook and Twitter have gone too far in moderating content from conservatives, and that’s driving people to his service.

“I want people to have choices,” he said. “I want there to be one platform out there that people can choose to say, ‘Trust us, we understand there’s a world of disinformation and misinformation, but

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Pinterest, LinkedIn, NextDoor deal with election disinformation

Those social networks have long struggled with the misinformation runoff from bigger rivals, like Facebook and Twitter, who have worked to stifle the spread of election disinformation on their sites. Those tech giants have spent months preparing for this period, marshaling tens of thousands of content moderators to slap labels on posts, hide tweets and even shutting off political ads.

The more misinformation circulates on the large social networks, the more it trickles down to the smaller sites better known for posting wedding photos, connecting with potential employers and complaining about a neighbor’s dog.

“Of course, the Internet is a space without borders, and that means the conspiracy theories and propaganda and misinformation does not remain static across platforms,” said Samuel Woolley, a professor and director of a propaganda research team at the University of Texas at Austin.

In the past week, misinformation and conspiracy theories have surged across the

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Facebook’s latest attempt to slow disinformation means probation for groups

Facebook has started putting some groups on a type of probation, its latest move to slow the spread of disinformation and attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. election.



graphical user interface, text: The 2020 Election Facebook page


© Gabby Jones/Bloomberg News
The 2020 Election Facebook page

Any group, public or private, the company detects has too many posts that violate its community standards will be forced to have administrators and moderators approve each submission manually. The requirement will stay in place for 60 days for the group, with no way to appeal or override it.

The company will be closely monitoring how group administrators and moderators handle posts during those three months, and could decide to shut a group down completely if it repeatedly allows too many offending posts. The change makes the volunteers who run groups more responsible for what happens inside them.

“We are temporarily requiring admins and moderators of some political and social

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Facebook, Twitter, and Google need to answer for disinformation, not a fake anti-conservative bias

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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Lawmakers accuse tech giants of silencing conservative voices

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey sat before the Senate on Wednesday, ostensibly, to testify about an internet law that protects websites from liability for content that users post. 

But the hearing quickly devolved into accusations by Republicans that the internet giants silence conservatives, despite a lack of any solid evidence to support such claims.

“The three witnesses we have before this committee today collectively pose, I believe, the single greatest threat to free speech in America, and the greatest threat we have to free and fair elections,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said

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Minority communities fighting back against disinformation ahead of election

Before many had even heard of Russian troll farms, back in 2014, Shafiqah Hudson and I’Nasah Crockett, two Black Twitter users with no technical or law enforcement background, helped curb disinformation by using an inventive hashtag.

Hudson spotted a number of Twitter accounts purporting to be Black feminists that appeared to be purposely sowing division, calling for an end to Father’s Day and using the hashtag #endfathersday.

“A lot of tweets featured really terrible approximations of African American Vernacular English, or AAVE,” Hudson told ABC News. “And you can’t fake AAVE.”

An online friend of Hudson’s, Crockett did some digging and discovered a few of these bad

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Is social media censoring speech or combating disinformation?

The smartest insight and analysis, from all perspectives, rounded up from around the web:

Facebook and Twitter “spent years preparing to face” the kind of controversy that came with the New York Post‘s publication of emails allegedly taken from the computer of Joe Biden’s son Hunter, said Robert McMillan at The Wall Street Journal. They still ended up with a mess. Twitter, which initially blocked users from sharing the article (and even froze the Post‘s official account), did “an about-face” after an outcry from Republicans and said it would change its ban on hacked content “unless it’s directly shared by hackers.” Meanwhile inside Facebook, “executives had performed role-playing exercises about how to respond to an email dump.” Following the playbook they developed, Facebook flagged the Post‘s articles for fact-checking and limited their exposure in news feeds. That didn’t shield Facebook from widespread criticism: Republicans lawmakers complained

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