All Misinformation stories

Tech's reluctant road to taking on Trump

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and a looming election have brought long-simmering conflicts between tech platforms and President Trump to a boil, as Facebook, Twitter and other services are starting to take presidential misinformation seriously.

What's happening: Wary of becoming arbiters of political speech, tech's platforms have carved out a range of exceptions and immunities for Trump and other political leaders — but that accommodation is coming undone.

Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

Female members of Congress to Facebook: Do better

Photo: Graeme Jennings via Getty Images

Facebook must do better to protect women in politics, who face a barrage of sexism, hate and harassment on the platform, members of the Democratic Women Caucus including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to the social network Thursday.

Context: Facebook, under heavy scrutiny for misinformation, privacy and antitrust concerns, recently kept a doctored video of Pelosi up, though fact checkers labeled it as "partly false." The platform came under fire for not removing a doctored video of Pelosi in 2019 as well.

When U.S. politicians exploit foreign disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. political actors will keep weaponizing the impact of widespread foreign disinformation campaigns on American elections, making these operations that much more effective and attractive to Russia, China, Iran or other countries backing them.

Why it matters: Hostile powers’ disinformation campaigns aim to destabilize the U.S., and each time a domestic politician embraces them, it demonstrates that they work.

QAnon's 2020 resurgence

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The strange realities of 2020 have perfectly played to the kind of fear QAnon thrives on, driving record online interest in the conspiracy theory.

Why it matters: QAnon is not just one fringe conspiracy theory — it's a sprawling network of falsehoods that's seeping into the mainstream. Its growing influence is sowing fear and confusion around some of today's most important issues, such as election integrity and the coronavirus pandemic.

America’s meme machine is fueling the populist movement globally

Data: GroupSense; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The QAnon conspiracy is picking up steam abroad, particularly in Europe, where populist movements are on the rise.

Why it matters: "The U.S. has started exporting these domestic-in-origin conspiracy movements to the outside world, "says Zarine Kharazian, Assistant Editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.

Aug 3, 2020 - Technology

System for thwarting deepfakes unveiled

Photoshop: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A group whose members include Adobe, Twitter and the New York Times Monday offered a plan for restoring trust in photos and video in the face of a rising tide of digital fakery.

Why it matters: Deepfakes — images manipulated or generated by AI in a deceptive way — undermine trust both by tricking people into thinking phony images or videos are real and by making them doubt the veracity of real imagery.

Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Twitter temporarily bars Donald Trump Jr. from tweeting over coronavirus misinformation

Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Twitter temporarily prevented Donald Trump Jr. from tweeting and retweeting on Tuesday after the president's son shared coronavirus-related misinformation.

Why it matters: The 12-hour hold — set off by a video touting hydroxychloroquine — is one of the toughest moves yet against a member of the Trump inner circle by the social media platform.

Jul 21, 2020 - Technology

Facebook adds label to Trump post on elections

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook Tuesday added a label — directing users to electoral information — to a post by President Donald Trump that criticizes mail-in voting.

Why it matters: The move follows through on a promise by Facebook to label all posts from political candidates that mention voting. The company wants to show it will apply the new rules equally to everyone, including Trump. It has added similar links to posts from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jul 18, 2020 - Technology

Tweeting our way to a nuclear war

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new report outlines how miscalculations and misinformation on Twitter could lead to global war.

Why it matters: Social media platforms like Twitter have vastly accelerated the pace of communication. Without restraints, it's far too easy to imagine how errant tweets could cause international disputes to escalate out of control.

Jul 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Project Origin is watermarking media to fight fake news ahead of the election

Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser/Axios

An international coalition of news and tech companies, including the AP, The Washington Post, Facebook and others, is partnering with a different coalition led by the BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, Microsoft and The New York Times called Project Origin to fight fake news during the U.S. election.

How it works: The project aims to place digital watermarks on media originating from authentic content creators. The watermark will degrade when content has been manipulated. The verification system will be deployed in the month leading up to the U.S. election.