All Misinformation stories

Jun 2, 2020 - Technology

Twitter suspends fake antifa account tied to white nationalists

Twitter said Monday that it has suspended an account named "ANTIFA_US" which it says was tied to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. Over the weekend, the account had called for violence and its posts had widely circulated online.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of social media being used to exploit and sharpen the very real divisions in American society. It's also the latest example of Twitter more aggressively rooting out false information on its platform.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.

May 27, 2020 - Technology

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump

Twitter came under fire on Tuesday for allowing President Trump to tweet conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough and the 2001 death of one of his staffers, despite the objections of the staffer's family. The company came under further fire from Trump himself for fact-checking two of his tweets about mail-in voting.

Dan and the New York Times' Kara Swisher dig into Trump’s use of the platform and Twitter’s steps — and missteps — in handling it.

Go deeper: Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter made headlines Tuesday after labeling two election-related tweets from President Trump as potentially misleading — the company’s first action against the president’s tweets, which often test its policies on misinformation and abuse.

The big picture: Twitter's unprecedented move, which swiftly drew Trump's fury, was just one of four controversies over the last 24 hours involving tech platforms grappling with free speech issues. And all of them, Axios' Sara Fischer and I report, reflect what a partisan issue the policing of social media content has become.

"Close them down": Trump threatens action against social media platforms

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms due to anti-conservative bias in a pair of Wednesday tweets — the day after Twitter's first fact-check against the president's claims on its platform.

Reality check: While his claim that social media companies target conservatives isn't new, an Axios analysis last year found that stories about the 2020 presidential election that drove the most engagement online often came from right-wing media outlets.

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."

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.

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.