We’re nearing the final
results of election 2020 and Donald Trump’s odd don’t look good. Naturally,
he’s spreading bogus conspiracy theories just to undermine the vote count and
find his way back into the office.
Source: The Indian Express
Only a fool – or a
Republican – would fail to see that misinformation has been Trump’s key
strategy throughout the campaign. He’s unabashedly used Twitter to spread lies
about the Democrats, that they’ve been rigging votes. His son, of course, is
following in his lead and promoting a far-right QAnon conspiracy theory which
claims that someone was hired to burn ballots that were casted in Trump’s
favor. Another ridiculous moment was witnessed when White House press secretary
Kayleigh McEnany declared Trump to be the winner even when the results were not
We’re part of a time in
history when internet rumors and viral conspiracies are widely accepted by the
general public. According to a survey, Americans find it easier to believe
unproven and false claims. Based on research, it’s been concluded that a
significant ratio appears to be susceptible to believing claims that are yet to
be proven. Both Democrats and Republicans are found guilty to believe
conspiracy theories that are politically motivated.
This is especially
dangerous because if people fall prey to wrong information, they’d be compelled
to change their voting decision. The idea is to do your own research and search
for the truth that is immaculate. Some of the most appalling theories that circulated
this election year are as follows.
Since Election Day,
hashtags like #stopthesteal and #riggedelection have been making rounds on
social media. Facebook and TikTok have especially worked on blocking these
hashtags as they were being used to spread misinformation regarding the
presidential election just like they did during the time Covid-19 theories circulated. The purpose of this hashtag is to simply conspire
against the winning candidate – Joe Biden.
According to this
hashtag, Democrats are stealing the election by manipulating the votes. Instead
of accepting that not enough people voted for Trump, they’re spreading lies all
over social media. Facebook first forbid the use of #stopthesteal hashtag as it spread unsubstantiated claims of
election fraud by the Democrats. Soon, #sharpiegate
started trending, again a failed attempt by trump supporters, to allege that
the use of Sharpie makers in Arizona caused Trump votes to go uncounted.
TikTok followed suit
and blocked all three hashtags – the action was immediately spotted by
TechCrunch. The platform conveyed that the block was in “normal moderation and approach to misinformation, hate speech, and
other content that violates our guidelines.” They removed all content
related to the hashtag as they didn’t wish to cause confusion.
Twitter, on the other
hand, doesn’t have the blocking feature. However, the company ensured that no
false information spreads irresponsibly. Therefore, the company started adding
labels to some tweets – warning users that the tweet carries wrong information.
Some tweets carry a message, urging readers to learn more about the election
security efforts by the website.
Twitter went out of its
way to ensure that nobody spreads lies – not even the President of United
States. It took an aggressive course of action to prevent fraudulent claims and
misquoted tweets from spreading. Such tweets are quickly getting stamped with
allegations of misinformation.
Facebook also added
similar labels and pulled down a massive group of people (300,000) from using “Stop the Steal” hashtag. Facebook alleged
that this group had violent intentions and they had no valid evidence to
support the hashtag.
Source: The New York Times
theory that is making rounds is created by the QAnon group. Many people have
questioned whether QAnons were behind Trump’s so-called red wave before the
election of 2020. In fact, the grouped is alleged to have caused the
stronger-than-expected performance in several states.
Research analyst and
professor at the USC Information Sciences Institute has claimed that voters in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada seem
to have engaged and supported the QAnon content – of course, the eventual
results don’t match. But again, it must be counted that this theory was
conceptualized and asserted pre-election.
Apparently, the results
acquired from the traditional poles were unable to surface it. Of course, these
conclusions were derived on a fresh review, state-by-state, of 240 million tweets
between 20th June and September 9th. The study was
published just days prior to the election. The movement somehow lost the gained
momentum which is evident from the election’s outcome.
do not think QAnon activity had an influential effect pre-election. QAnon
networks are, however, amplifying some of the wildest conspiracies in this
dangerous post-election period. I am concerned about how they are contributing
to the general atmosphere of uncertainty.”
– said Emerson Brooking, the resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital
Forensic Research Lab.
Basically, the QAnon
followers asserted that the Democrats were operating a secret child-sex
trafficking ring and Trump threatened to expose and break it. This group is
also fond of hosting other conspiracy theories backed by ‘Save the Children’ hashtag, but without any concrete evidence to
back the claims.
Weeks before the
elections, QAnon supporters rallied around the bogus claims that the son of
elect-president Joe Biden is an incestuous paedophile and this premise was based
on speculations and illegitimate contents from his laptop.
Before the elections,
many people felt that it was going to be a one-sided contest since no one is fond of Donald Trump. However, these allegations took a serious course right
before the election, which is why is it hard to suggest whether these claims had
any effect on the voting decision of Americans.
certainly came across evidence of concerted disinformation campaigns to get
people to change their vote on the back of this information in the final days
of the campaign.” – said Gallagher.
In the coming months,
QAnon groups may threaten the very roots of American politics because their
power isn’t restricted to the dark corners of social media but the group has
gained support from acclaimed American politicians.
“QAnon at its core is a pro-Trump movement
that positioned Trump as the savior and Biden as the devil. It did this by
bombarding people with lies and sowing complete distrust in industries and
institutions that would people would traditionally turn to for information.
We’re also seeing the QAnon movement spreading vast amounts of disinformation
related to voter fraud and attempting to sow distrust in the results of the
During the Election, a
video became viral where he was accused of moving ballots. In the video, the
man was seen closing the back of a white van in the early hours of Wednesday
morning. He then wheeled a box into a Detroit ballot-counting location that had
a red wagon. Just when he starts walking away, a woman was heard saying “looks
like one of those lockboxes” in the recording implying that he was illegally
bringing ballots inside.
In reality, it was an
innocent photographer doing his job and handling his own equipment. He worked
for WXYZ, Detroit’s ABC affiliate. That white box was being transported to the
TCF Centre and had nothing to do with the ballots.
Of course, the video
was posted by a conservative website called Texas Scorecard and it was filmed
by no one other than Lawyers of Trump. It was shared by 200,000 users on
Twitter and viewed by thousands of people online.
Soon, the spokeswoman
of Michigan Department of State confirmed that this video was being misused and
it was an attempt to create a conspiracy.
settled this and confirmed it is their camera person. That video has been
completely debunked.” – said the spokeswoman, Tracy
Wimmer, in an email.
November onwards, republicans have done everything in their power to malign and
exploit innocent voters. They wanted to manipulate their understanding and
create unnecessary theories to confuse them. Trump’s administration and family
tried to spread bogus conspiracy theories to undermine the voter count.
For example, Trump’s
son along with the senior members of his campaign advanced a number of baseless
conspiracy theories regarding the vote-tallying process to suggest that
Democrats were rigging the final results.
Eric Trump was amongst
the first few people to tweet a video of a far-right QAnon conspiracy theory
that suggests that someone was burning ballots that were cast for Donald
Trump. In reality, the material shown in the video was the sample ballots.
Twitter was quick to shut down these claims and flagged it as misleading.
Soon White House press
secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Trump won in Pennsylvania – at the time
no results were approved – and so, Twitter added warning labels on these
tweets. Tim Murtaugh later claimed that the crowd control at one of the
processing centers in Detroit was maligning against Trump to reduce his votes –
again, fake news.
There were numerous misleading
messages that tried to sow doubt about the tabulation in people’s mind. Every
social media platform raced to put labels on misleading posts and hide baseless
claims through restrictions.
All in all, Trump and
his administration left no stone unturned to gain public support and change the
fate of the elections.