Media platforms

Social media platforms act on misinformation midstream

Social media has played a huge role in recent political history, from Donald Trump’s tweets of rage to the haphazard factual freedom of Facebook accounts of a stolen election in 2020. Particularly though, Google – that it’s not no exaggeration to call it the global search engine – and Youtube the world’s address platform for everyone from home bakers to stand-up comedians to violent incels about to get started in a shootout – played a role in delivering biased, fact-less, click-heavy election content directly to people’s computer screens and smartphones.

With the US midterm elections in November fast approaching, Google has announced how it will prepare for the tidal wave of empty, other-dimensional fake news it expects, with everyone who paid attention in 2020, to precede the elections themselves.

Step 1

The first step is to launch a new tool to highlight local and regional journalism in the coming weeks, giving local outfits a bigger presence and higher profile than some dedicated partisan national platforms and campaigns in Google searches. until halfway. This should mean that, at the very least, you have a better idea of ​​the issues affecting your community, which gives you a better understanding of what you’re voting on and where each of the candidates stands on the issues you care about. Additionally, if you Google (in English or Spanish) “how to vote,” Google said its search engine will return information highlighted by state election officials – which will be concise, accurate, and timely, which means that you will not be tricked by false information into not complying with the voting rules, and thus losing your chance to vote.

It is hoped that by providing this kind of clear and reliable information, the tech giant can help combat so-called micro-targeting, which has been used in previous elections (including the presidential election of 2020), encourage minority voters not to vote. The availability of the same information in Spanish is intended to appeal to Latino voters, to whom bad actors have previously lied about their ability to vote and how to do so.

YouTube Metrics

YouTube, one of the most-watched social media platforms, said it would highlight mainstream news sources and add labels below video content (again in English and Spanish), giving accurate election information. He added that he would tackle algorithmic issues that had previously recommended “harmful election misinformation” to particular groups of potential voters. YouTube has begun removing videos related to the midterms that promote the ridiculous, factless narrative of the stolen 2020 election. “This includes videos that violated our Election Integrity Policy by alleging widespread fraud, errors or issues in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, or alleging that the election was stolen or rigged,” a YouTube blog post said.

You are simply wrong

It is not, as bad actors would have the American public believe, the result of an elite plan to silence the truth and shore up “theft.”

This is an initiative to promote factual reality.

These measures are also designed in some measure to rehabilitate Big Tech – and social media in particular – with the American public after its relatively ungoverned use in previous elections had the effect of discouraging potential voters, giving them false information (and therefore depriving them of the possibility of voting) or, in certain cases, being intimidated into believing that they did not right vote.

This, by the way, is not the widely advertised “election fraud” that fuels former President Trump’s entirely false narrative of a stolen 2020 election. This kind of “election fraud” does not really exist in numerically significant quantities, and a number of investigators and courts have proven it. The issue addressed here is right-wing misinformation to remove the “not-we” from the voting group.

Personal interest in full camouflage

It’s highly debatable though that Google’s moves aren’t driven by a citizen’s determination to fix their homes when it comes to the impact it has on the election. Rather, the impact of November’s midterm elections could see a shake-up that deals with how platforms are regulated from the outside, so any attempt to demonstrate that Big Tech can regulate itself, at least less in terms of affecting the composition of American democratic institutions, must be a positive step.

The moves to hold strong and verifiable elections come as some of those responsible for spreading and perpetuating the 2020 “stolen election” lie are running for office themselves, hoping to provide a basis for a second Trump run in 2024 (even if the former president is the subject of a groundbreaking FBI investigation). Arguably, providing factual information to the electorate has never been more important than it is mid-term.

As Google and YouTube step up their promotion of fact-based election information, disinformation experts are already warning that movements from other platforms like Twitter, TikTok and Facebook are insufficient – ​​especially as bad actors and extremists will seek to smear politics and the information environment in new and radical ways.

Other platforms

Twitter said it would vet mid-term police posts and tweets “that undermine public confidence in official results”, in line with its civic integrity policy, while Meta, the company that owns Facebook , said his policy would be to suppress misrepresentations about who can vote and how, and any calls for election-related violence, but that this not eliminate baseless allegations of rigged or fraudulent elections. Twitter will maintain the level of labeling it used in the 2020 election and beyond, in terms of spreading false narratives. Facebook, on the other hand, will use less labeling than it did in 2020, after user feedback suggested these labels were “overused”.

This will be the first election in which TikTok is likely to play a relatively large role in terms of information sharing, and it has pledged to create an “election hub” – providing authoritative information in 45 languages.

Whether these measures are sufficient to combat the online spread of democracy-endangering nonsense by extremists (including some of the supporters of the Stop The Steal narratives running for office) will only be seen with hindsight. Experts remain less than fully convinced, but any improvement in the previously relatively wild social media environment can only be welcomed.

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