As polling places started to close in the US and concentrated on tallying votes, social media platforms stayed on high alert Tuesday against Election Day propaganda and disinformation attempts.
Tumblr, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube adopted measures to discourage the dissemination of fake facts meant to affect the results of the referendum in order to avoid the issues that arose in the 2016 vote.
Facebook said it had triggered a command centre that was in real time tracking the site.
“A Facebook statement posted on Twitter says,” Our Election Operations Center will continue to track a variety of topics in real time — including allegations of voter intimidation material.
Facebook said its election centre had monitored other topics, such as President Donald Trump’s supporters’ behaviour around Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign buses.
“Nevertheless, according to a post by Kayla Gogarty of the non-profit watchdog organisation Media Matters, some Facebook groups were used to spread tales of going to polling places without face masks to” scare liberals away.
In the meantime, a small number of Instagram users were shown a notice erroneously saying “Tomorrow is Election Day,” on top of their pages, in what the photo-centric social network claimed was a mistake.
Instagram said that, because the software was restarted, the notice was left over from a night ago and was not cleared from a memory cache.
And on social media posts customised to throw doubt on the election process, a # stopthesteal hashtag was used.
This is a targeted campaign of misinformation towards Black people, and there is nothing the networks are doing to shut it down, “social scientist Shireen Mitchell said.”
Facebook repeated that it would placed warning marks on all posts that attempt to prematurely declare victories.
“We will add more detailed details in the labels on candidate posts if a presidential candidate or party announces premature victory, add more specific information in the top-of-feed updates and continue to view the latest results in our Voting Information Hub,” the social giant added.
The organisation has vowed to stem disinformation around the election, including premature declarations of victory, along with other media networks, to prevent a repetition of exploitation attempts in 2016.
Facebook and Twitter have added disclaimers to Trump messages in recent days, putting the credibility of mail-in ballots into question.
A slow vote count in the swing state of Pennsylvania could lead to “rampant and unregulated cheating,” the Trump post in question on Twitter said.
“Terror in the cities can still be caused. More must be done!” he tweeted.
Last month, Twitter revised its “civic honesty strategy” in order to deter attempts to exploit or intervene with elections. This includes action against false statements of victory or other incitement to abuse.
YouTube has also attempted to restrict the distribution of videos containing lies regarding votes. It started adding information panels to videos on voting by mail last month.
According to the Google-owned video sharing site, mail-in voting was introduced to a brief list of subjects that YouTube finds vulnerable to posts featuring falsehoods, such as Covid-19 and landing on the Moon.
According to YouTube, the panel exists under such videos regardless of who is speaking or who is posting them.
Some activists noted that loopholes and glitches hurt efforts by social platforms to curb the spread of false information.
In recent days, the advocacy organisation Avaaz said it has seen many instances of unverified election statements on Facebook.
Some claims suggest that if Trump wins, the “left” is planning a “coup,” although others have argued without any objective justification that, according to Avaaz, Trump will have to win Pennsylvania by four to five points “to solve election fraud.”
This week, Facebook admitted that some political advertising suspended for featuring false data were resurfacing, with political parties copying the same material to sneak past philtres for new tweets.