December 28, 2021

Yes, the Crookie Corporate Leadership award goes to Twitter!

In January, John Avlon talked about how turning off the disinformation spewed by Trump is necessary if we're ever going to heal the nation.

"New footage of the Capitol Hill attack published by the New Yorker makes it clear that a significant number of our fellow citizens have lost touch with reality. The conspiracy theories and hyperpartisan call to arms can consume people and make them believe they're defending the Constitution -- by assaulting the Constitution. They think they're patriots, but they're hatriots. And this video shows that some believe they were sent by President Trump.

We were sent by Trump, your boss.

"Untangling this mess will take time. We need accountability before we can find unity. This didn't emerge overnight. For decades, there has been a strain of right-wing conspiracy theorists who demonize Democrats and threaten violence, but what's different is, they've been validated by the president's lies and clustered by social media. It's precisely why combatting disinformation is so essential to reuniting as a nation.

"Take a look at how a self-serving conspiracy theory proliferated via social media in the hours after the attack on the Capitol, falsely blaming left-wing radicals rather than right-wing supporters of the president. According to data analysis by the media intelligence from Zignal Labs, more than 411,000 mentions of this lie appeared online in less than 24 hours. The ecosystem of the echo chamber is instructive. It went from pro-Trump Lin Wood to televangelist supporters to being liked by Eric Trump, which increased its reach. Paul Gosar then pushed out the lie on social media and by 7:43, the baseless allegations emerged on Fox News."

I think a lot of it is the antifa folks.

"By 10 p.m., the lies reached the House floor, repeated by Trumpist congressman Matt Gaetz."

The Washington Times just reported that some of people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.

"That article Gaetz mentioned was later retracted, but not before it was shared nearly 180,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. And by the next morning, the lie was being pushed by President Trump, according to Axios. This echo chamber fits a larger pattern of how bots and trolls amplified trump's disinformation megaphone, or MAGAphone, giving the illusion of mass support for fringe conspiracies while winning new converts. And it helps account for how researchers at Cornell found that Trump was likely the largest single driver of covid disinformation in the world.

"This is not over, but there are some hopeful signs that the fever might break. Get this. There's been a 73% decline in election fraud misinformation since Donald Trump was deplatformed from social media after the Capitol attack, according to Zignal. It also helped that some 70,000 Twitter accounts peddling Qanon conspiracy theories were taken down. This is a short-term solution, but it offers an off-ramp from disinformation escalation, a way to turn down the MAGAphone.

"And that's something we're going to need if we're going to regain our ability to reason together as a nation. And that's your reality check."

Yes, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took the bull by the horns and banned Trump --which was no small thing. Thank you for serving democracy instead of dollars. Let's hope your new CEO follows in your footsteps!

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