Will fake news tarnish the 2020 election as much as it did in 2016? It’s tempting to think that we’ve started to solve the problem. After the 2016 election, the big social media platforms pledged to root out mis- and disinformation through self-regulation. Facebook is tripling the size of its safety and security teams to help protect election integrity. YouTube promised to reduce the spread of “borderline content.” Twitterpublished large data sets of potential foreign information operations for researchers to analyze. And Reddit increased the scope of itsquarantine and ban policies for content such as Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and misogyny. But if you look at how fake news really works—how ideas and memes take root and spread across the digital universe—it’s becoming clear that these measures won’t be enough. Story Continued Below As the 2020 campaign gets underway, manipulated, disruptive and misleading content has already emerged. Researchers, for instance, have identified a group of Twitter accounts that have begun coordinating negative messaging—laced with racist and sexist stereotypes—directed at various Democrats. One of the key problems with policing this kind of content is that even if individual platforms do their part, misinformation is platform-agnostic; it jumps from one site to… Read full this story
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