Election Misinformation Fell 73% After Trump’s Twitter Ban, Study Finds
Misinformation surrounding the 2020 US presidential election dropped by 73% after President Donald Trump and a number of his supporters were banned from Twitter and other social media sites, research shows.
The study, which was carried out by media intelligence company Zignal Labs, found that baseless claims of election fraud fell from 2.5 million mentions across the platforms to 688,000 following Trump’s suspensions.
There was also a huge plunge in the use of hashtags linked to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Hashtags ‘Fight for Trump’, ‘Hold The Line’, and ‘March for Trump’ were used 95% less, Zignal found.
The data was gathered in the period from January 9 to Friday, January 15, The Washington Post reports.
On January 8, Twitter announced that it had decided to indefinitely ban Trump from its platform.
‘After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,’ the platform wrote in a tweet.
Other major social media services, such as Facebook and Snapchat have also followed suit.
While Trump still had access to his Twitter account, he made repeated, unsubstantiated claims that he won the 2020 election. Twitter later introduced a warning sign under some of his tweets to flag that they contain false information.
Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which tracks misinformation, told The Post: ‘De-platforming, especially at the scale that occurred last week, rapidly curbs momentum and ability to reach new audiences.’
Following the January 6 chaos at the US Capitol, which left five people dead, Twitter said it has also suspended accounts that were ‘engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service’.
Among those who had their accounts removed were Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, high-profile supporters of Trump.
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