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Pressure grows on social media giants to tackle misinformation

June 4, 2020 - Emil Ougendal

From outrageous Tweets from the president of the USA to conspiracy theories about 5G. Social media platforms have long been under scrutiny for allowing ‘fake news’ to spread but, perhaps more than ever, pressure is growing on firms to tackle the spread of misinformation.

Twitter marks Trump tweet with fact check label

Donald Trump had a tweet marked with “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” after he stated that Mail-In Ballots will be “substantially fraudulent”. It was the first time that Twitter marked one of the president’s tweets with a fact checker as they felt it was misinformation – and it did not go down well!

In the aftermath, Trump accused social media platforms of interfering with the election and threatened to shut companies down. He signed an executive order arguing against the 1996 website operators’ rights that says:

“Sites are protected from lawsuits if they block posts deemed obscene, violent or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

1996 Legislation
President Tump tweet fact checked
Donald Trump Tweet

Trump tweet is hidden for glorifying violence

Moving on, Twitter decided to take firmer action against another tweet, composed by the president. The platform decided to hide one of his tweets behind a warning and reducing its algorithmic distribution, meaning people have to click view in order to read it.

The tweet read “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” which referred to the anti-racism protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

A couple of hours later, the tweet was hidden behind the warning which read “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”

In typical Trumpish fashion, the tweet was copied and put in quotation marks and sent out by the official White House account, which again was hidden by Twitter.

Twitter hides tweet from president Trump
Donald Trump tweet hidden

Facebook turning a blind eye

Twitter was praised by many for helping to stop the spread of misinformation and antagonising messages. This led to increased pressure on Facebook to do the same, forcing Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to make an announcement. He took the position of “the leader of an institution committed to free expression.”

The company let Trump’s tweets remain unaltered, something that has caused a stir both outside and inside his organisation. Several Facebook employees have voiced their discontent.

“I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up,” Jason Toff, Director of Product Management tweeted. While Design Manager Jason Stirman tweeted that he “completely disagrees” with Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to “do nothing about Trump’s recent posts, which clearly incite violence.”

“I’m not alone inside of FB”. “There isn’t a neutral position on racism.”

Jason Stirman added

5G conspiracy theories 

rumours about coronavirus and 5g spread
Fake 5G news on social media

A topic that Facebook HAS taken action against is the false information being spread about wireless technology 5G being the cause of Coronavirus and/or coronavirus being a fake distraction from the set up of killer 5G masts designed to depopulate the world.

In response Facebook said:

“We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and connect people to accurate information about coronavirus”.

“Under our existing policies against harmful misinformation, we are starting to remove false claims which link COVID-19 to 5G technology and could lead to physical harm.”

Facebook

Trust is a big issue on social media, and we often have to educate our clients on different ways that they may come across as fake accounts or scammers due to poor wording and visuals.

For help with your social media, get in touch.

Emil Ougendal

Emil Ougendal

Social Media Manager

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