In the past 2-3 years, social media companies have done more to regulate content on their platforms than in all other years combined, but the information environment has unquestionably gotten worse. I think there was/is a mistaken belief that “more is better” here.
Facebook’s “false information” labels actually amplified Trump’s posts:

“Facebook labeled at least 506 of...Trump’s posts in 2020 and 2021. On average, these labeled posts earned over two times more interactions per post than his overall posts.”
mediamatters.org/facebook/faceb…
“Rather than emphasize consistency, platforms have zigged and zagged their policies as the news cycle evolves.”

Inconsistencies like this fuel grievances based on perceived bias, and make it easy for social media platforms to evade accountability.
axios.com/wuhan-lab-leak…
As Axios notes,”many of the most controversial, polarizing topics that animate internet discourse exist within factual gray areas that allow wide latitude between unknowns and misinformation,” but social media platforms are trying to regulate that with policies based on binaries.
Labeling or banning content by categorizing it as true/false misses the most important content, because the most effective and convincing mis/disinformation takes a bunch of grains of truth and ties them together in a way that is misleading or unverifiable.
I still think we’re not paying nearly enough attention to the underlying psychosocial factors driving the spread of mis/disinformation. Consider anti-vaccine content. Much of it originates in spaces dominated by women, particularly moms. This isn’t an issue of lack of knowledge.
Often, it’s a matter of feeling unheard or discounted, and like the info from the doctor or CDC isn’t addressing their concerns. Anti-vax groups promise (false) answers to questions that doctors may not be able to answer; they’re fulfilling a psychosocial need.
Women, particularly moms, have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. When people lose jobs, they look elsewhere for a new sense of identity. What I’m saying is that the pandemic is going to end up fueling the growth of a new generation of anti-vaxxers.
It’s not getting better.
nytimes.com/2020/10/12/tec…
This also gets at another problem that we don’t talk about enough: the demand side of misinformation. We hear a lot about the supply side and talk a lot about how to reduce it, but the demand is actually increasing in many circles.

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More from @RVAwonk

31 May
This Oath Keepers indictment is wild. They were just waiting for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act.

“we will also have well armed & equipped QRF1 teams on standby...in [case] the President calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.”
storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
The Oath Keepers say they were helping Trump fight back against election fraud:

“It is CRITICAL that all patriots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall in support of President Trump’s fight to defeat the enemies...who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud...”
The Oath Keepers were preparing for violence and “insurrection” in defense of Trump at least as far back as Nov:

“We’re going to defend the president... Because if you don’t guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war, & a bloody – you can call it an insurrection...”
Read 5 tweets
31 May
Oh wow. Turkish agents have captured a nephew of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and have brought him to Turkey where he faces prosecution.

(Gulen was the person who Gen. Flynn reportedly plotted to kidnap & illegally extradite to Turkey).
apnews.com/article/middle…
Here’s the 2017 story about Gen. Flynn’s alleged involvement in a plot to kidnap and illegally extradite Gulen while he (Flynn) was on the payroll of Turkish President Erdogan.
Flynn Jr. was allegedly also involved in the kidnapping plot, which reportedly included a $15 million payout once Gulen was delivered to Erdogan in Turkey.
Read 4 tweets
29 May
According to an analysis for Newsweek, a woman earning a median wage of $47,299 before the pandemic who returns to work in 2022 stands to lose $250,000+ in income over her lifetime; if she's out until 2024, those losses could rise to nearly $600,000.
newsweek.com/2021/06/11/exc…
“Collectively, women in the U.S. who left the workforce in 2020 could take a financial hit of $885 billion for two years out of work.”
“There's a collective penalty we're all going to pay for forcing women to figure out how to manage a global health emergency on their own."
Read 4 tweets
28 May
Wow. Hackers linked to Russia’s main intelligence agency seized an email system used by the State Department’s international aid agency to burrow into the computer networks of human rights groups and other organizations that have been critical of Putin.
nytimes.com/2021/05/28/us/…
"The newly disclosed attack was also particularly bold: By breaching the systems of a supplier used by the federal government, the hackers sent out genuine-looking emails to more than 3,000 accounts across more than 150 orgs that regularly receive communications from USAID."
"The email was implanted with code that would give the hackers unlimited access to the computer systems of the recipients, from 'stealing data to infecting other computers on a network,'" according to Microsoft.

Those emails went out as recently as this week.
Read 7 tweets
26 May
WTF. “A camera system that uses AI and facial recognition intended to reveal states of emotion has been tested on Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the BBC has been told.”

A human rights advocate who saw the evidence described it as “shocking.”
bbc.com/news/technolog…
“We placed the emotion detection camera 3m from the subject. It is similar to a lie detector but far more advanced technology,” said the software engineer who designed the ‘emotion detection’ tool.
He said officers used "restraint chairs" which are widely installed in police stations across China.

"Your wrists are locked in place by metal restraints, and [the] same applies to your ankles."
Read 11 tweets

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