Fb blocks hashtags for #sharpiegate, #stopthesteal election conspiracies

By | November 5, 2020

Facebook at the moment started to dam choose hashtags which had been getting used to share misinformation associated to the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Now, searches for the hashtags #SharpieGate is being blocked on the social community. One other election conspiracy hashtag #stopthesteal can be blocked on Fb, with a notice saying a few of its content material goes in opposition to the platform’s neighborhood requirements. The #stopthesteal hashtag has been promoted by Donald Trump Jr. and different Trump marketing campaign associates on Twitter.

As an alternative of taking customers to go looking outcomes for the hashtag in query, Fb presents a web page the place it explains that posts with the hashtag are being “quickly hidden.” This message additionally explains that “some content material in these posts goes in opposition to our Neighborhood Requirements,” and affords to direct customers to its guidelines underneath a “Study Extra” hyperlink.

Picture Credit: Fb screenshot by way of TechCrunch

Although TechCrunch discovered choose election misinformation hashtags had been banned, there have been nonetheless many others that may direct customers to content material that pushed conspiracies disputing the election outcomes or outright calling them fraudulent.

For instance, hashtags like #RiggedElection, #Rigged, #ElectionFraud, #ElectionMeddling and others nonetheless labored, and even directed customers to content material related to QAnon conspiracies, at occasions — regardless of Facebook’s earlier ban on QAnon content, which prolonged to many associated hashtags.

Provided that Fb allowed QAnon content material to unfold for years, it’s notable that the corporate moved to dam election misinformation hashtags in a matter of days. That signifies Fb is able to addressing viral misinformation considerably shortly — it simply has traditionally chosen not to take action.

As for the hashtags themselves, Sharpiegate had already been completely debunked, each by information retailers and election officers. In a letter posted to Twitter, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors debunked the claims that the usage of sharpies would invalidate ballots. As a result of the ballots are printed with offset columns, the usage of sharpies is allowed and wouldn’t trigger bleed-through or different points.

The declare was first made Tuesday in a video posted to Facebook wherein a girl claims ballot employees had been encouraging some voters to make use of sharpies to be able to invalidate their ballots. That video is now flagged on Fb with a “false info” label and requires customers to click on by way of to look at it.

Along with its hashtag bans, Fb at the moment additionally eliminated a bunch, “Cease the Steal,” that had been organized to delegitimize the election course of, the company told BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac.

President Trump is leaning closely right into a false narrative that suspicious polling place conduct and late-arriving ballots are a part of a Democratic plot to thwart his reelection probabilities. In a speech from the White Home early Wednesday morning, Trump declared untimely victory, elevating baseless considerations that mail-in ballots, which had been anticipated to lean closely Democratic, had been in some way improper as they erased a few of his early positive aspects. “We had been on the brink of win this election,” Trump stated. “Frankly, we did win this election.”

On Twitter, lots of Trump’s latest tweets selling unfounded election conspiracies have been hidden from view and positioned behind a misinformation warning. These hidden tweets even have likes, retweets and feedback restricted to be able to restrict their capacity to unfold in a viral manner. On Fb, the president’s posts alleging fraud at voting websites are usually not referred to as out instantly as misinformation. As an alternative, Fb pairs them with informational labels reminding customers that vote-by-mail ballots are reliable or noting that election officers observe “strict guidelines” round processing and counting ballots.

Fb up to now has not responded to a request for remark about its new hashtag bans, however they’re observable throughout the Fb app on each the desktop and cellular app as of the time of writing.

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