Misinfo Monday: WARNING Social Media Posts May Contain Misinformation
— Misinfo Monday is a weekly series by Mozilla where we give you the tools, tips and tricks needed to cut the crap and find the truth. For more Misinfo Monday posts, check back weekly on our blog or on our Instagram. —
The historic 2020 U.S. elections are now behind us, and while the results of the election were anything but predictable, the flood of disinformation was.
On election day, robo calls in swing states alarmed voters, and discouraged them from going to the polls, a phenomenon we warned you about in our terrifying tales of disinformation. Though votes are never fully counted on election night, many speculated that the count would take longer than normal, and that some would use that to delegitimize the vote. That also came true. Worse, some predicted a presidential candidate might use the delay to claim an early victory, as Trump did in the early morning after election day, even as millions of votes were still being counted. Given these outcomes were predictable, social platforms had plenty of time to prepare for them, but still stumbled.
And in the days following, we’ve predictably seen election misinformation spread online, with election results called before votes were counted, with social media posts that questioned the validity of mail in ballots, and with baseless claims of fraud. While some platforms removed, fact-checked or blocked the content, others did not. And even when misinformation standards were applied to content, it had often already been viewed thousands or even millions of times.
This Misinformation Monday, we’re reminding you stay vigilant, and to beware of content that casts doubt on the election. Some frequent examples of misinformation we’ve seen are:
- Claims that vote counts are “jumping” in swing states, and that this is proof of fraud.
- Claims that ballots have been lost or that “surprise” ballots have been found.
- Claims that the use of Sharpie pens have been invalidating ballots in Arizona.
Stay safe out there, avoid falling for misinformation, and search “beware misinfo” in Instagram stickers or the Twitter GIF library to share this message with friends and family. You can find more share options on our GIPHY.