` `

Spread of Misinformation Seems to Have Declined

Layne Radlauer Layne Radlauer
23rd January 2021
Spread of Misinformation Seems to Have Declined
Zignal Labs found a 73 percent reduction in misinformation spread (Getty Images).

The Claim

Since de-platforming users they see as promoting hate speech, social media platforms have experienced a vast reduction in misinformation.

Emerging story

The claim went viral in January 2021, following the decision of many social media platforms to ban some users.

Graphical user interface, text

Description automatically generated

Graphical user interface, text, application, email

Description automatically generated

Graphical user interface, text

Description automatically generated

Misbar’s Analysis

Following the riot on the Capitol, Twitter said they are taking a proactive stance against misinformation and hate speech. They have banned former President Trump’s Twitter account, as well as purging over 70,000 accounts espousing QAnon views.

Following this, there appears to have been a huge reduction in misinformation. Analytics firm Zignal Labs found that claims about election fraud dropped 73%. 

A person taking a picture of a crowd of people

Description automatically generated with low confidence

However, thus far only the Zignal Labs study has conducted a thorough analysis of the reduction in misinformation. Further, the reduction in alleged misinformation about election fraud may be at least partially due to the certainty of Biden’s inauguration. More research is needed to discover the full extent of the recent change in the spread of misinformation.

One may assume that this de-platforming may be effective simply because people more likely to share misinformation have been removed. However, that might not be true.

Consider the story of Reddit, where users are completely anonymous. If a user is banned, there’s not much stopping them from creating a new account. Moreover, if communities where these users congregated are also banned, users can create similar spaces.

In 2020, Reddit took a stance not unlike that of Twitter and banned thousands of what they viewed as hate subreddits, as well as ones that might incite violence. Reddit found an almost 20 percent reduction in what they say is hateful content, including racist, misogynistic, and violent content.

Since misinformation does seem to be reduced since the de-platforming of certain accounts, but since more research is needed to make a definite conclusion, we rate this claim as selective.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

Read More

Most Read