A Facebook search for the words “election fraud” first delivers an article claiming that workers at a Pennsylvania children’s museum are brainwashing children so they’ll accept stolen elections.
Facebook’s second suggestion? A link to an article from a site called MAGA Underground that says Democrats are plotting to rig next month’s midterms. “You should still be mad as hell about the fraud that happened in 2020,” the article insists.
With less than three weeks before the polls close, misinformation about voting and elections abounds on social media despite promises by tech companies to address a problem blamed for increasing polarization and distrust.
While platforms like Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube say they’ve expanded their work to detect and stop harmful claims that could suppress the vote or even lead to violent confrontations, a review of some of the sites shows they’re still playing catchup with 2020, when then-President Donald Trump’s lies about the election he lost to Joe Biden helped fuel an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“You would think that they would have learned by now,” said Heidi Beirich, founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and a member of a group called the Real Facebook Oversight Board that has criticized the platform’s efforts. “This isn’t their first election. This should have been addressed before Trump lost in 2020. The damage is pretty deep at this point.”
If these U.S.-based tech giants can’t properly prepare for a U.S. election, how can anyone expect them to handle overseas elections, Beirich said.
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