‘Free Speech’ Social Network Parler Tops App Store Downloads After Trump Loses Election

Illustration for article titled Free Speech Social Network Parler Tops App Store Downloads After Trump Loses Election

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP (Getty Images)

Parler, the Twitter alternative for conservatives where users can say anything they want without fear of censorship (except for an arbitrary list of terms conservatives don’t like), is taking off in the wake of Donald Trump’s defeat against Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 elections.

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Parler is currently listed ranked as the #1 most downloaded free app on iOS and Android, per analytics firm SensorTower. The app bills itself as a sort of alternate Facebook or Twitter where right-wingers can frolic without fear that that liberal tech billionaires and their mod cronies will ban them or delete their posts—a Trump-endorsed conspiracy theory that has become central to GOP dogma.  According to TechCrunch, Parler sat as the 1,023th most downloaded app on the App Store a week ago to #7 on Saturday and #1 on Sunday. On Android, Parler shot from #51 on Saturday to #5 on Sunday and #1 on Monday.

Parlor was originally pronounced “Parlay” (meaning to speak in French), but its CEO John Matze changed it to the more straightforward pronunciation “Parlour” (as in the type of room) after realizing his users were saying it that way anyways.

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Tech firms are serving as one of the many bogeymen the president and Republican allies have trotted out shift the blame of their electoral losses to a vague array of liberal gatekeepers (rather than the GOP’s record of governance.) Conservative media figures including talk show host Mark Levin, Newt Gingrich, and numerous others have urged their followers on other social media sites to join Parler—something that might have a greater impact if they were leaving those sites themselves. Instead, the join-Parler crowd is generally positing the transition as a preemptive response to some unspecified purge in the future and not actually deleting their existing accounts.

It’s not surprising that Parler is experiencing a wave of signups in the wake of the elections: It’s been one of the primary beneficiaries of the Republican obsession with supposed social media censorship—in no small part due to the endorsement of pundit Dan Bongino, who has a massive following on Facebook and Twitter, and heavily promoted Parler using his accounts on those other sites. In the lead-up to Nov. 3 and after, Twitter put warning labels on many of Trump’s tweets claiming a conspiracy to “steal” the election; whether or not it was effective, it also made the president and his supporters look ridiculous, perhaps encouraging them to lean more on alternative communications channels.

Parler has also eked out a position as a less explicitly seedy destination than its competitors (such as Gab, which is primarily used by white supremacists and neo-Nazis) for QAnon loyalists and other far-right groups fleeing increased scrutiny on Facebook, Twitter, and other mainstream sites. The Trump campaign, which is refusing to concede the election, has also used Parler to raise funds for a task force to dispute its outcome. At least 50 to 60 percent of the funding is being channeled towards other uses, like paying down the campaign’s debt.

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While Republicans might not actually be expanding their audience via Parler, they’re certainly embracing the opportunity to funnel existing supporters into their new conservative safe space. Over the course of the last week, Parler does seem to have experienced a surge in traffic—recent posts by the Team Trump account have racked up view counts from between one to two and a half million, up from the neighborhood of 200,000 to 350,000 a week prior.

In Wake of Election, Facebook Will Put Groups That Violate Its Community Standards on ‘Probation’

Demonstrators celebrate after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election on November 7, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Demonstrators celebrate after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election on November 7, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Tami Chappell / AFP (Getty Images)

Although millions of Americans—and really, the world—breathed a sigh of relief today when it was announced that former Vice President Joe Biden had given current President Donald Trump the worst news of his life (also known as, you’re fired), election season isn’t over yet. This means that Facebook still has a lot of work to do to keep its platform from becoming a toxic swamp of misinformation.

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The company apparently has a new idea to tackle this problem: group probation. According to a Saturday report in the Washington Post, if Facebook detects that groups have too many posts that violate its community standards, it will place these groups under probation, which will require administrators or moderators to approve each post manually. Facebook has confirmed the report to Gizmodo.

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Groups affected by the temporary measure—announced on the same day Biden was declared the next president—will be under probation for 60 days, and there will be no way to appeal or override the probation. Facebook told Gizmodo although the probation period is currently scheduled to last 60 days, it would continue to evaluate the duration of the measure.

“We are temporarily requiring admins and moderators of some political and social groups in the U.S. to approve all posts, if their group has a number of Community Standards violations from members,” Facebook spokesperson Leonard Lam told Gizmodo in an emailed statement.

Lam explained that the company was implementing the measure “in order to protect people during this unprecedented time.”

A Facebook spokesperson said that the measure would give group administrators a chance to make sure all posts in their community are positive contributions consistent with the group’s culture. Facebook tells administrators and moderators that their group has been placed on probation via notification. It also lets them know what date their group will get off probation.

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Administrators and moderators can still approve false or harmful posts, but it’s not a good idea. Facebook considers that administrators or moderators who approve posts that violate its community standards demonstrate that the group’s purpose may be to spread harm. A Facebook spokesperson said that when administrators or moderators repeatedly post or approve content that violates its standards, it will delete the group.

In a situation that requires Facebook to determine whether to remove a group, the spokesperson said it analyzes administrator and moderator actions. If the people in charge frequently break Facebook’s rules or approve posts from others who break its rules, the company considers those actions to be strikes against the overall group. The Facebook spokesperson said that in addition to moderator and administrator reviews, it also analyzes other factors when deciding whether to delete a group.

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Facebook’s new probation measure is being implemented during a storm of misinformation and lies, much of it coming from the current inhabitant of the White House and his loyal cronies. Groups on the social media network are a ripe breeding ground for these claims, which very often spread like wildfire.

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This week, a Facebook group called “Stop the Steal,” which spread false claims about election fraud, gained more than 300,000 members in less than 48 hours and created hundreds of thousands of total impressions. The group organized numerous in-person protests in various parts of the country, and some comments made references to guns, per Rolling Stone. Facebook removed the group because it was organized around the “delegitimization of the election process” as well as for “worrying calls for violence.”

As with many of Facebook’s initiatives, we’ll have to wait and see whether this has any real or meaningful impact. The next two months will undoubtedly be trying times, and the most important thing we can all do is protect and respect the will of the people. It ain’t over until Biden is in the White House.

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‘Stop the Steal’ Facebook Group Becomes ‘Gay Communists for Socialism’

Illustration for article titled Stop the Steal Facebook Group Becomes Gay Communists for Socialism

Photo: MOLLY RILEY (Getty Images)

Yesterday afternoon, Facebook removed the “Stop the Steal” group page that amassed over 300,000 members in the aftermath of Election Day. The pro-Trump, pro-conspiracy theory page was being used for organizing national protests to claim without evidence that the election is being stolen from Donald Trump. Immediately, other Stop the Steal pages appeared on the platform and began garnering thousands of members. But least one of those safe havens wasn’t safe from the creep of communism.

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It’s unclear when the change occurred, but social media users noticed on Friday morning that one Stop the Steal page with at least 64,000 members had been rebranded as Gay Communists for Socialism. When I wrote about Facebook’s moderation action against one Stop the Steal page on Thursday, the biggest copycat group had 7,000 members. So yes, a bunch of MAGA fans went to bed after a serotonin shot of being reassured by digital acquaintances that everything’s going to stay the same, and then they woke up in a Facebook America where everyone is forced to share and be gay.

One of many users who are insisting that they are not, in fact, gay communists for socialism while there’s so much evidence stacked against them.

One of many users who are insisting that they are not, in fact, gay communists for socialism while there’s so much evidence stacked against them.
Screenshot: Gizmodo

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While the page is private, they’re nice commies over there, and they’ll let you in promptly if you want to take a look at the chaos. This is a free speech zone and you’ll find people of all political persuasions voicing their opinions.

Some people seem to be having trouble figuring out how to leave the group, and other members have stepped in to help out.

Some people seem to be having trouble figuring out how to leave the group, and other members have stepped in to help out.
Screenshot: Gizmodo

The remarkable thing is how well the numbers for the page seem to be holding up and how many Stop the Steal people seem to be sticking around. The page currently has 56,200 members, but there are certainly some OG members who haven’t noticed the change, and there are surely new members flooding in as we speak. With Joe Biden’s prospects of winning election 1.0 looking all but assured, this might be the first sign of the reach-across-the-aisle America that he promised on the campaign trail.

Coming together hand-in-hand across the land.

Coming together hand-in-hand across the land.
Screenshot: Gizmodo

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Civil Rights Watchdogs Call for Twitter to Suspend Trump’s Account Already

Illustration for article titled Civil Rights Watchdogs Call for Twitter to Suspend Trumps Account Already

Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

Two national, nonpartisan civil rights groups are calling on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to suspend President Donald Trump’s account as state election officials finish tallying votes. Their reasoning… well, that should be evident to anyone who’s been doomscrolling these past few days while waiting for this seemingly neverending presidential election to wrap up.

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Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights watchdog, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to Dorsey on Thursday decrying Twitter’s “insufficient” response to the stream of bullshit election tweets Trump has pushed out this week. For obvious reasons, I won’t be rehashing every false or misleading claim here, but for the sake of context, some of his greatest hits include: ranting without evidence about secret ballot dumps, falsely claiming that ballots received after Election Day would not be counted, and prematurely declaring victory in several states before election officials there announced the final results.

The overwhelming bulk of these claims appear to violate Twitter’s terms of service, particularly its Civic Integrity Policy. This policy, which Twitter expanded in September in bracing for the U.S. presidential race, prohibits users from posting misleading or inaccurate information about voting or elections. This includes content “intended to undermine public confidence” in these civic processes as well as false claims about an election’s outcome.

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The policy clearly states that accounts with repeated violations will be permanently suspended, though Twitter’s historically made an exception for the president. It has slapped several of Trump’s tweets this week with labels cautioning that they contain disputed or misleading information about the election and it’s taken steps to limit their engagement, but critics say this damage control doesn’t go far enough.

“We fear that, in the absence of action by Twitter, the President may be successful in his goal of delegitimizing the integrity of our democratic processes for many, and not just Twitter users but other voters and members of the public, sowing uncertainty about the voting and elections process, and potentially inciting violence against civil servants or others,” said the letter, which was signed by Common Cause president Karen Flynn and the head of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke.

The letter goes on to cite the accounts of several “foreign and domestic actors” that Twitter has previously locked for repeated rule violations, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and right-wing British columnist Katie Hopkins.

Any other Twitter user “who repeatedly and deliberately violated Twitter’s terms of service in this manner would also have their account locked,” the letter continues. It states that even a 12-hour suspension “would provide a cooling period to recognize the multiple violations” since their “intensity and frequency” suggests that Trump intends to keep using the platform to “promote disinformation in the period ahead.”

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In an email to Gizmodo, a company spokesperson confirmed that Twitter had received the letter and is drafting a response. Though the likelihood of them actually following through with a suspension is pretty dismal. When it comes to moderating the president’s posts, Twitter and its fellow social media giant, Facebook, have historically erred on the side of caution, arguing that even his most outrageous claims are a matter of public interest and should be preserved online (albeit occasionally with prominent labels disclaiming how crap they are).

Steve Bannon Might Regret Calling For Acting Government Officials to Be Murdered

Illustration for article titled Steve Bannon Might Regret Calling For Acting Government Officials to Be Murdered

Screenshot: WAR ROOM: Pandemic via Media Matters (Fair Use)

Washed-up former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon isn’t taking Donald Trump’s increasingly certain ouster from the presidency well. In an episode of his interminable WAR ROOM: Pandemic podcast on Thursday, he called for the nation’s top infectious disease official and the director of the FBI to be murdered and for their bodies to be displayed as a signal to any other real or imagined dissenters.

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“Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci,” Bannon said, referring to a theoretically possible timeline that sucks. “Now I actually want to go a step farther but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man.”

“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats,” Bannon added. “You either get with the program or you’re gone—time to stop playing games. Blow it all up, put [Trump campaign official] Ric Grenell today as the interim head of the FBI. That’ll light them up, right?”

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“You know what Steve, just yesterday there was the anniversary of the hanging of two Tories in Philadelphia. These were Quaker businessmen who had cohabitated, if you will, with the British while they were occupying Philadelphia,” co-host Jack Maxey responded. “These people were hung. This is what we used to do to traitors.”

“That’s how you won the revolution,” Bannon concluded. “No one wants to talk about it. The revolution wasn’t some sort of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war.”

Twitter promptly banned the podcast’s account. Gizmodo reached out to Facebook, Spotify, Apple, Soundcloud, and Stitcher, all of which host Bannon’s podcast or in Facebook’s case, allows its distribution through Bannon’s personal page and Instagram. All of these sites have identifiable policies around calls to violence and/or harassing or bullying content (Gizmodo couldn’t locate any publicly-accessible content rules for Stitcher, but archived versions of its content provider agreement prohibit this kind of incitement.) We’ll update if any respond.

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YouTube, which has a three-strikes policy, said that the specific podcast episode has been removed. The podcast’s account remains active on the site. “We’ve removed this video for violating our policy against inciting violence,” YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph told Gizmodo. “We will continue to be vigilant as we enforce our policies in the post-election period.”

WhatsApp Brings Disappearing Messages To Its Platform

Illustration for article titled WhatsApp Brings Disappearing Messages To Its Platform

Graphic: WhatsApp

Good news for WhatsApp users who might want to keep their chat history a bit less permanent: the company announced a new “disappearing messages feature,” which will start rolling out to its more than one billion iOS and Android customers worldwide starting today.

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The feature allows WhatsAppers in a one-on-one conversation to set any new messages to automatically disappear after seven days. For group chats, that group’s admin will have control over whether or not to set those messages to stick around forever, or to be erased after that one-week period.

“While it’s great to hold onto memories from friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting,” a spokesperson wrote in the corporate blog post announcing the new feature. “Our goal is make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn’t have to stick around forever.”

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It’s worth noting here that these messages will end up deleted whether or not the person on the other end reads them or not, the company explained, and that includes any media—like photos and videos—sent under that same timer. WhatsApp added that messages in these chats can still be screenshotted or forwarded, which means they might end up floating around even after they’re past that seven-day limit.

A number of messaging apps either come baked in with, or have gone on to add, similar self-destruct features. Most give users some flexibility as to how long messages should stick around—down to as little as five seconds on Signal. According to Techcrunch, it Whataspp might also be toying around with a timer that might be a smidge shorter—or longer—than its current one-size-fits-all approach. A spokesperson told them that the company “will keep an eye on feedback,” and see if it needs adjusting in the future.

“For now we are starting with seven days, because it feels like a nice balance between the utility you need for global text based conversations and the feeling of things not sticking around forever,” they said.

Viral Video of Man Burning Trump Ballots Is Totally Fake

Shots from a viral video falsely claiming to show ballots for President Donald Trump being set on fire
Gif: Twitter

Have you seen that viral video of a man supposedly burning about 80 ballots marked for Donald Trump? The footage has been circulating on Twitter and Facebook over the past 48 hours and the president’s son, Eric Trump, even retweeted the video. But it’s completely fake.

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The viral video, which was first debunked by CNN, appeared on social media platforms on Tuesday, though it’s still not clear who created the deceptive footage. The ballots in the video are actually sample ballots that anyone can obtain, not official ballots used in elections.

The names on the ballots indicate that they’re sample ballots from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and election officials in that city say the sheets of paper don’t include barcode markings that would be visible on proper ballots. The city released a public statement on Tuesday evening after it was made aware of the video.

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A concerned citizen shared a video with us that ostensibly shows someone burning ballots. They are NOT official ballots, they are sample ballots. See the attached freeze frame image and photo of the official ballots, which have the bar codes,” the city wrote on its website.

Sample ballots from a viral video (left) and what real ballots look like in Virginia, complete with bar code markings (right)

Sample ballots from a viral video (left) and what real ballots look like in Virginia, complete with bar code markings (right)
Image: Twitter/City of Virginia Beach

Whoever made the video clearly wanted to sow doubt and confusion around the electoral process during a year when President Trump has falsely claimed that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud. The man behind the camera can be heard saying, “fuck Trump” and “you gotta do what you gotta do,” as he places the sample ballots in a plastic bag.

“Got around eighty,” the man says before putting lighter fluid on the bag and setting it on fire. He then gives a middle finger to the burning bag.

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“You work at the, uh, mail… or polling place, you gotta do what you gotta do,” the anonymous man can be heard saying in an accent that’s tough to place.

“Yeah, fuck Trump,” the man says again before squirting more fluid on the fire.

The fake video was quote-tweeted by Eric Trump on Wednesday but the account that originally posted the video has been suspended. The video has been flagged as fake on Facebook, but it’s still available to watch on the social media platform.

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Pro-Trump conspiracy theory websites like Gateway Pundit published the original video on Wednesday, but hedged by claiming that no one knows where the ballots came from. In fact, we do know where those sample ballots are from because we can google the names on the right side of the ballot.

For example, a quick search for “Rosemary A. Wilson” reveals she’s a member of the Virginia Beach City Council. The video is grainy since it’s been shared and reshared so many times on various social media platforms, but you can do the same with other names on the ballot, like Brandon C. Hutchins and Nadine Marie Paniccia. All three were running for Virginia Beach City Council in Tuesday’s election.

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Fake viral video of sample ballots from Virginia Beach

Fake viral video of sample ballots from Virginia Beach
Image: Twitter

The Gateway Pundit wrote a follow-up post about the incident, noting that the account Eric Trump had retweeted had been deleted but didn’t include any comment from the City of Virginia Beach.

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President Trump and his supporters are waging an information war online to cast doubt on the election, which still hasn’t been declared for either side. Joe Biden currently leads in the electoral vote count, but hasn’t secured the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Biden currently has 264 electoral votes and Trump has 214, according to Fox News. The crucial swing states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada are still tabulating their results.

Whoever burned the ballots in Virginia Beach may not be in trouble with officials who oversee elections in the state, but law enforcement still wants to speak with the man who made the video. The problem, funnily enough, is that this video likely breaks the law because it’s an uncontrolled burn near a bunch of flammable materials like dry leaves.

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Fire investigators are looking into the illegal burning,” the city wrote on its website.

The Mess in Detroit Is Getting Worse Thanks to Facebook

Illustration for article titled The Mess in Detroit Is Getting Worse Thanks to Facebook

Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY / Contributor (Getty Images)

Dozens of protesters that showed up to disrupt the vote counting process at Detroit’s TCF Center on Wednesday were potentially galvanized into action by a pro-Trump Facebook group, which had blasted out a message hours earlier urging its 79,000 members to “be a presence” at the ballot-counting site.

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The Facebook group in question, Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan, is a private Lansing-based page that boasts members who are “passionate about advancing freedom,” according to its description. The group was previously used as a hub to discuss and protest COVID-19 restrictions that included a stay-at-home order in the state, which some residents had famously been a bit miffed about (they tried to kidnap the governor).

On Wednesday, a group administrator posted an “Urgent call to action in Detroit,” in Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan encouraging any users stationed outside the TCF Center to “just be a presence” and to “pray, take photos, take videos.”

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Undoubtedly incensed by President Donald Trump’s repeated insinuations that Democrats are in the middle of an attempt to hijack the election results, Republican challengers banged on windows outside the TCF Center, demanding that they be allowed to enter the counting area in order to oversee the tallying process. According to the Detroit Free Press, despite protesters’ chants of “Let us in” and “Stop the count,” the counting of Detroit’s more than 170,000 absentee ballots continued.

Even if the protesters that showed up to the TCF Center on Wednesday weren’t sent there by a Facebook group, the incident is an important reminder of the ways conservatives have been using their anti-COVID-19 lockdown Facebook groups to organize around other right-wing causes, including protesting the Black Lives Matter movement and encouraging protests of the election results.

Either way, it looks like pro-Trump protesters’ efforts were in vain: Biden has sailed to victory in Michigan, clinching a critical swing state that will play a key role in his pathway to victory.

WhatsApp’s New “Vacation Mode” Doesn’t Seem Like Much Of a Vacation At All

Illustration for article titled WhatsApps New Vacation Mode Doesnt Seem Like Much Of a Vacation At All

Photo: Carl Court (Getty Images)

WhatsApp’s newest feature has us a bit intrigued.

The messaging app’s latest beta just dropped in the Google Play Store, and according to a third-party blog tracking the app’s developments, it looks… interesting.

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While we weren’t able to access the beta ourselves, the blog alleges that it includes a new feature called “Vacation Mode,” which will apparently be baked into one of the app’s future updates for iOS and Android users. The feature is designed to automatically archive texts as they come in and keep them archived so you won’t get notified if you’re, say, on vacation. It overrides WhatsApp’s usual tactic of un-archiving any of these chats with any new message. 

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The blog notes that while we don’t know when this WhatsApp feature will be ready for prime time, the beta already comes packed with a new tab specifically for these archived—or muted—chats, so it may roll out fairly soon.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment, and will update this post when we hear back.

How Social Media Platforms Are Preparing for the Election, And the Aftermath

Illustration for article titled How Social Media Platforms Are Preparing for the Election, And the Aftermath

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images (Getty Images)

As stores run low on plywood barricades, guns fly off the shelves, and the president plans not to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, social media companies have begrudgingly developed contingency plans for election day and the confusion that’s sure to follow. Belying most of these policies are the likely scenarios that 1) a candidate will claim victory before the results are determined and 2) there will be some level of violence, potentially spurred on by misinformation. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing to mitigate that.

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Keep in mind that these companies often talk a good game, but then fall well short of moderating content up to their self-imposed standards. As such, we continue to pray a solar flare will wipe out the internet today, but the odds of anything good happening this year just aren’t in our favor.


Facebook and Instagram

Facebook took a lot of deserving heat for its role in allowing disinformation to flourish during the 2016 election. Since then, it’s invested in tamping down on this sort of behavior or at least giving reporters the impression it’s doing so.

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In the latter category, Facebook has launched its “war room” of experts, which it claims has worked against election disinformation in the past, including swiftly removing lies that Brazil’s 2018 election date was postponed, and stifling calls for violence in the country. Facebook also says, in a recent blog post titled “Preparing For Election Day,” that the company has 35,000 people on payroll “working on safety and security issues” like coordinated inauthentic behavior, disinformation campaigns, and voter interference. That’s an impressive number to tout, though it seems like that’s just the number of content moderators Facebook already employs and doesn’t appear to have increased at least a year.

Proactively, the company paused the purchase of new political ads last week, for an indefinite period of time, to “reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse.” And last year, it launched an ad library database with information on advertiser spending and reasons for ad removals. Unfortunately, bugs and heavy use by researchers during situations it was designed for (like the U.S. election) have a tendency to make it less than reliable. And in the short term, Facebook claims to have temporarily stopped recommending political pages to users.

Facebook will characteristically label, not delete, a post by a party or candidate that prematurely claims victory. Instead, a correction will inform users that “votes are still being counted.” Facebook doesn’t say what it will do if a non-party or non-candidate page or user declares a Donald Trump or Joe Biden victory, but the platform does note that it’s putting a big sign up on the site in case there’s any confusion:

If the candidate that is declared the winner by major media outlets is contested by another candidate or party, we will show the name of the declared winning candidate with notifications at the top of Facebook and Instagram, as well as label posts from presidential candidates, with the declared winner’s name and a link to the Voting Information Center.

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As for violence, in the same post from early last month states that:

[W]hen we become aware of them, we will also remove calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters

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It seems to have no specific plan for violence outside of polling sites and will rely on existing policies that prohibit “militarized social movements” and calls for violence. We’ll have to put our faith in Facebook’s ability to avoid another “operational mistake,” such as the 455 user reports of potential violence it ignored prior to the Kenosha shooting.

For the powder keg we’re expecting in days to come: Facebook reportedly plans to roll out special security measures to slow viral content, usually reserved for “at-risk” countries like Myanmar. Our democracy is strong and healthy.

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Twitter

Twitter is, of course, Trump’s preferred megaphone. But it’s at least somewhat positioned itself as the anti-Facebook, no longer totally capitulating to conservatives and proactively featuring fact-checks.

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Unlike Facebook, Twitter has blocked campaign ads altogether. And over the past year, the company has debuted a creative array of new label formats largely on Trump’s timeline: removing some tweets, hiding others, and surrounding others with factual context. It also doesn’t plan to remove Trump’s (or Biden’s) unsubstantiated claims to victory, but Twitter’s labeling will be more conspicuous, probably pleasing no one and landing CEO Jack Dorsey in another kangaroo court session.

On Monday morning, in a tweet thread, Twitter laid out its election results plan, promising that should a candidate claim victory prematurely, it will append a label stating that official sources have not yet called the results; a warning will also appear before users attempt to retweet it. They’ll consider a result official once it’s confirmed by a state election official or at least two of the following outlets: ABC News, the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, the Decision Desk, Fox News, or NBC News. Notably, the New York Times isn’t on the list.

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The company also plans to add a warning or remove content “inciting interference with the election, encouraging violent action or other physical harms.”

YouTube

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, YouTube hasn’t announced a flurry of new policies. Chief product officer Neal Mohan told the New York Times that the company will follow standard procedure and if necessary senior officials at YouTube will make “nuanced” decisions.

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YouTube will use its Intelligence Desk, a team formed in 2018, which monitors for emerging, dangerous trends. Similar to banners it has placed in search results with links to information on voting, it will include banners for election results on Election Day. Under the existing community guidelines, it has been removing videos that mislead viewers about where and how to vote, and demonetizing those which include claims that could disenfranchise voters.

A candidate’s premature declaration of victory would depend on context, YouTube told Gizmodo. If it included incitement to violence, YouTube would remove the video for violating its policies, but falsely claiming “I won” would simply come with an election results label. But, YouTube says, that this is where its policy to reduce the spread of misinformation would kick in, in the form of prioritizing trustworthy news sources.

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TikTok

Aside from being flung into the dumbest political power play of all time, TikTok has mercifully avoided controversy around censoring politicians’ speech, possibly because its core user base isn’t even of voting age. Last year, it also banned paid political ads and sponsored content.

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TikTok says that it will be partnering with fact-checkers to “reduce discoverability” of content wherein a candidate or user attempts to prematurely announce a victory. It also stated it will be using the Associated Press as its authoritative source for results, and that “out of an abundance of caution, if claims can’t be verified or fact-checking is inconclusive, we’ll limit distribution of the content.” Any content that attempts to suppress voting will come with an election guide banner. TikTok also claims that it’s been working with the Department of Homeland Security in order to prevent foreign interference.

Reddit

Reddit has yet to get on board the trend of labeling misinformation, but will it remove objectively false information about the election? Unclear. When asked about its plans for the election, a Reddit spokesperson told Gizmodo that broadly, “Reddit’s content policy is written to be flexible to address different forms of content manipulation or misinformation.” The spokesperson went on to name misinformation that undermines civil engagement or misrepresentation of election results—but Reddit’s exceptionally short list of rules doesn’t mention misinformation. “We have dedicated teams that enforce our site-wide policies and proactively go after bad actors on the site,” the spokesperson added. “And have built internal tools to detect and remove policy-breaking content.”

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Reddit’s security team has elaborated a little, and their plan seems to be largely: Let’s let the users decide. “Downvote and report any potential election misinformation, especially disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting,” a security report from last month reads.

Though its communities may not always enforce them consistently, Reddit does have existing policies against calls to violence, and does not appear to have developed new ones for this election.

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If you witness or suspect election interference, call the American Civil Liberties Union’s Election Protection Hotline: 1-800-OUR-VOTE (1-800-687-8683).