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"The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday," reports the Washington Post, "highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites—reinforcing and amplifying each other—and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference." (Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

"The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday," reports the Washington Post, "highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites—reinforcing and amplifying each other—and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference." (Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

'Talk About a Super Spreader': Analysis Finds Online Election Misinformation Fell by 73% After Trump Barred

After Trump's lies disappeared from Twitter and Facebook, the dissemination of falsehoods and the conversations based on them fell dramatically.

Jon Queally

A new analysis of online misinformation released Saturday showed that false and wildly misleading content regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was reduced by nearly three-fourths overall after President Donald Trump was barred from posting on major social media sites in the wake of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building by his supporters.

The research firm Zignal Labs, as the Washington Post reports, calculated that conversations based on misinformation "plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week."

According to the Post:

The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday, highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites—reinforcing and amplifying each other—and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference.

Twitter's ban of Trump on Jan. 8, after years in which @realDonaldTrump was a potent online megaphone, has been particularly significant in curbing his ability to push misleading claims about what state and federal officials have called a free and fair election on Nov. 3.

Trump's banishment was followed by other actions by social media sites, including Twitter's ban of more than 70,000 accounts affiliated with the baseless QAnon ideology, which played a key role in fomenting the Capitol siege on Jan. 6.

"Together, those actions will likely significantly reduce the amount of online misinformation in the near term," Kate Starbird, disinformation researcher at the University of Washington, told the Post. "What happens in the long term is still up in the air."

Writing for the media watchdog outlet Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) on Friday, journalist Alan MacLeod warned that even if Trump's current ban from prominent social media is justified, the fact that these platforms have such outsized power is a danger to free speech rights and democracy in the long run.

"It's difficult to argue that Trump did not repeatedly violate Twitter's rules against 'threaten[ing] violence' and 'glorification of violence,' justifying his ban," wrote MacLeod. "But we urgently need to rethink the power of these social media behemoths, because there are plenty of other examples where their enforcement of their rules has been arbitrary and non-transparent."


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'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

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