Election Day was rife with disinformation. Twitter and Facebook worked to remove content that would keep voters away from the polls and had removed thousands of fake accounts in the run up to election day. They also worked with federal officials on the effort. Amongst them were memes urging people to vote on the wrong day, claims that immigration agents would be patrolling polling locations, that buses of non-immigrants were stopped at the border with Beto signs, and others.
- Is domestic disinformation now worse than foreign intervention?
- Should internationally spreading false information about voting be illegal?
- Did disinformation have an effect on the election results?
SAN FRANCISCO ‘” When voters went to the polls on Election Day, social media companies scanned their platforms for content that would prevent them from doing so.
Facebook said it quickly removed misinformation, such as posts and memoranda urging Republicans and Democrats to vote on the wrong day and claims that federal immigration agents patrol polling sites.
In recent days, Twitter has criticized the rumor that immigration and customs officers would check the citizenship of voters in polls and illegally deport anyone in the country and delete more than 10,000 automated accounts posting messages claiming to be from Democrats who discouraged people from voting on Tuesday.
The stakes for Facebook and Twitter could not be higher after Russian operatives targeted African-American, Hispanic and LGBT voters with false voting information. If social media companies cannot prevent misleading information from spreading during elections, legislators have threatened regulation.
Yet falsehoods continued to spread Tuesday. Two busloads of “illegals” were paid to vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s challenger Beto O’Rourke. Not true. Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s siblings were charged with voter fraud. Also not true. Early voting numbers are in from Michigan. There is no early voting period in Michigan. BuzzFeed busted a fake Donald Trump Twitter account with more than 10,000 followers which had been spreading Election Day hoaxes.