All Misinformation stories

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.

Updated May 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Husband of deceased Scarborough staffer asks Twitter to delete baseless Trump claims

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The husband of Lori Klausutis, an aide to Joe Scarborough when he was a member of Congress who died in 2001, asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to take down President Trump's tweets baselessly accusing the MSNBC host of murdering her, according to a letter obtained by the New York Times' Kara Swisher.

The state of play: Timothy Klausutis asked Dorsey to delete the tweets because Trump "has taken something that does not belong him — the memory of my dead wife and perverted it for perceived political gain."

Ina Fried, author of Login
May 11, 2020 - Technology

Coronavirus misinformation is a tricky foe for tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The major online platforms' long struggle to cope with floods of misinformation has reached a new pitch of urgency during the coronavirus pandemic — just as the fight has become harder than ever.

Driving the news: In the most recent controversy, One America News Network — a small rival to Fox News that is President Trump's current favorite — aired a segment Friday, also posted on YouTube, that makes conspiracy-theory-style connections between China, the "deep state," George Soros, Bill Gates, and the Clintons.

May 5, 2020 - Technology

False coronavirus disinfectant cures surged online after Trump comments

Reproduced from Zignal; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of all the conspiracy theories floating around the internet related to the coronavirus, disinfectant has by far gone the most viral.

Why it matters: Unlike some of the other conspiracy theories gaining traction on the internet, the disinfectant theory has gone viral online in large part because it's so obviously nonsensical that it quickly became an internet meme after President Trump suggested it could be used as a cure for coronavirus.

Apr 15, 2020 - Technology
What Matters 2020

Coronavirus misinformation seeds ground for digital scams

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Fear of the coronavirus and misinformation about the pandemic have created a pool of targets for online scammers.

The big picture: Misinformation around COVID-19 is rampant online, from phony cures to outlandish claims that 5G wireless signals cause the illness. Cybersecurity analysts are also seeing an explosion in phishing and other digital cons that base their scams on these popular coronavirus myths.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 7, 2020 - Technology

YouTube pulls coronavirus misinformation videos

YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan. Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

YouTube's product chief tells Axios that the Google-owned video site has removed thousands of COVID-19 videos — including some from the Brazilian president's channel — for violating policies related to the spread of medical misinformation.

Why it matters: Though criticized in the past for allowing misinformation to flourish, Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been taking a tougher stand when it comes to the coronavirus.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Mar 30, 2020 - Technology

Twitter cracks down on coronavirus misinformation from Giuliani, Bolsonaro

Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

It's notable that Twitter, like other social networks, has announced stricter rules on virus-related misinformation than other types of false posts. Even more notable, though, is that Twitter has actually enforced its rules against prominent accounts in recent days.

Why it matters: Twitter has been criticized for being lax to enforce its rules, particularly against well-known politicians and celebrities.

Mar 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New reports find Russian meddling coming via Africa ahead of 2020

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


A new Russian disinformation campaign targeting Americans on social media operated through satellite outfits in Ghana and Nigeria, according to new reports from CNN and Graphika, in collaboration with Facebook and professors at Clemson University.

Why it matters: Russian efforts to meddle in this year's U.S. elections are evolving in an attempt to avoid detection. In 2016, most state-backed misinformation campaigns went through St. Petersburg. Now, the Kremlin is changing course.

InfoWars host Alex Jones charged with DWI

Photo: Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images

InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was arrested early Tuesday and charged with driving while intoxicated in Travis County, Texas, the Austin-American Statesman reports.

Details: The 46-year-old radio host, who has been banned from most major Big Tech platforms, was released on bail almost four hours after his arrest. In December, a judge ordered him to pay $100,000 in court costs and legal fees in a case brought by a Sandy Hook family after his unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the mass shooting.

Mar 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why labeling misinformation on social media can be so tricky

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook have struggled with ways label misinformation without appearing biased or without baiting users to game the system.

Why it matters: It may seem obvious that tech companies should let users know when something is false, but sometimes, calling out false content can have unintended consequences.