A barrage of vote-rigging conspiracy theories being circulated online by an increasingly panicked President Trump and his campaign has social media companies scrambling to keep up.
Twitter added labels and warnings to at least eight tweets sent or shared by Trump’s account or his campaign account by Thursday, with the tech giant applying more stringent standards for election-related tweets — and Facebook added reminders that the vote count is still underway, the Washington Post reported.
“Our teams continue to monitor tweets that attempt to spread misleading information about voting, accounts engaged in spammy behavior, and tweets that make premature or inaccurate claims about election results,” Twitter spokesman Brandon Borrman said in a statement to the outlet.
“We remain vigilant and will continue working to protect the integrity of the election conversation on Twitter,” the statement said.
The Trump campaign and supporters of the president have spread claims that Democrats are undermining the vote-counting process to steal the election, with the outcome of the race still in doubt.
Eric Trump, the president’s son, tweeted a video floated by the far-right conspiracy group QAnon that claimed to show ballots for his father being burned — although it later surfaced that they were just sample ballots.
Twitter quickly suspended the account that initially posted the clip.
Eric Trump and others, including White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, also claimed in tweets that later had warning labels added that Trump had won the state of Pennsylvania, although that race has yet to be called.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh claimed in another post that crowd control measures at a Detroit poll-counting site were part of an attempt to block the president’s re-election, the Washington Post said.
The campaign has also deployed text messages to advance the claim that the election is being stolen. Staffers flooded smartphones with an estimated 9 million messages accusing Democrats of trying to rig the results, according to the call-blocking app RoboKiller.
“I need you to defend America!” one text message read. “We can’t let Dems undermine our election. FIGHT BACK!”
“They’ve shifted their tactics, after months-long attacks on voting by mail, to saying that the voting process and vote-tarrying process is rigged,” said Joan Donovan, director of Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. “They are priming the public, and laying the groundwork for legal challenges to mail-in voting and to the voting process.”
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