It’s the never-ending battle for YouTube.
Every minute YouTube is bombarded with videos that run counter to it many guidelineswhether it’s pornography or copyrighted material or violent extremism or dangerous misinformation. The company has further developed its artificially intelligent computer systems in recent years to prevent most of these so called violent videos from the upload to the site, however comes on put to the test for failing to curb the spread of dangerous content.
To demonstrate its effectiveness in finding and removing videos that violate the rules, YouTube released a new metric on Tuesday: the Violative View Rate. This is the percentage of total views on YouTube that came from videos that don’t meet guidelines before the videos are removed.
In a blog post, YouTube said violent videos accounted for 0.16-0.18 percent of all views on the platform in the fourth quarter of 2020. In other words, out of 10,000 views on YouTube, 16 to 18 were content that violated YouTube rules and was eventually removed.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, and it’s a very, very low number, but we obviously want it to be lower,” said Jennifer O’Connor, director of YouTube’s Trust and Security Team.
The company said the rate of violations of the view improved year over year, from 0.63 percent to 0.72 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
YouTube did not disclose the number of times problematic videos were viewed before they were removed. This reluctance underscores the challenges facing platforms like YouTube and Facebook that rely on user-generated content. Even if YouTube makes progress in intercepting and removing banned content – computers detect 94 percent of problematic videos before they even appear – the overall views remain a noticeable number because of the large platform.
YouTube decided to include a percentage rather than a total as it helps contextualize the importance of the problematic content for the entire platform, O’Connor said.
YouTube released the metric, which has been tracking the company for years and which is expected to fluctuate over time, as part of a quarterly report detailing how it enforces its policies. In the report, YouTube offered buzz for the number of objectionable videos (83 million) and comments (seven billion) it had removed since 2018.
While YouTube cites such reports as a form of accountability, the underlying data is based on YouTube’s own decisions for which videos violate the guidelines. When YouTube finds that fewer videos are violent – and therefore less distant from it – the percentage of violent video views may decrease. And none of the data is subject to independent review, although the company has not ruled it out going forward.
“We’re starting out by just publishing these numbers and providing a lot of data,” said Ms. O’Connor. “But I wouldn’t take that off the table yet.”
YouTube also said it counts views generously. For example, a view counts even if the user stopped watching before reaching the offensive part of the video, the company said.
QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy theory, had another bad day on Thursday.
After the disappointment of January 20 – when former President Donald J. Trump, contrary to QAnon’s convictions, did not declare martial law, announced the mass arrests of satanic pedophiles and prevented President Biden from taking office – some QAnon believers revised their predictions.
They told themselves that “the storm” – the day of reckoning in QAnon lore when the global cabal would be brought to justice – would take place on March 4th. This is the day the U.S. Presidents were inaugurated until March 20, 1933.The amendment was ratified and the date moved to January. Some QAnon believers thought it would be the day Mr. Trump would return triumphantly as the nation’s legitimate president, based on theirs wrong interpretation an obscure 19th century law.
Law enforcement agencies, concerned about a repeat of the January 6th Uprising in the Capitol, took note of QAnon’s revised deadline and prepared for the worst. The Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. sent intelligence bulletins to local police departments Warning that domestic extremist groups “have discussed plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers”. And the House of Representatives canceled plans in session Thursday after Capitol Police warned of a possible QAnon-inspired conspiracy to carry out a second attack on the Capitol.
But the Capitol was quiet on Thursday and QAnon supporters did not break out in violence. Mr Trump remains a past president and there have been no mass arrests of pedophiles.
Even before their last prophecy failed, QAnon believers were divided over the future of the movement. Some movement influencers who originally advocated the March 4th conspiracy theory had withdrawn their support for it in the past few days. insist It was a false flag operation carried out by Antifa or other left-wing extremists to make QAnon look bad.
When it became clear Thursday that no storm was afoot, some QAnon believers defiantly claimed that Mr. Trump still had time to conduct a coup and take office. A telegram channel devoted to QAnon chatter was lit with false claims that Bill Gates, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other prominent officials had already been arrested or executed for high treason. Clones ”were activated to maintain the illusion that they were still alive.
But other believers denied these claims and appeared to have resigned themselves to postponing their reckoning day again.
“It can’t happen today,” wrote a poster on a QAnon message board. “But when it happens everyone will see! As Q predicted. And yes, it will be a lot sooner than it will be in four years. We are talking about days (maximum weeks). “
Twitter said on Monday that it would start putting labels on tweets containing misleading information about Covid-19 vaccines and enforce this Coronavirus Misinformation Policy with a new five-tier “strike” system.
Tweets that violate the policy are tagged with links to official public health information or the Twitter rulesthe company said in a blog post. Twitter said these labels would improve the ability to provide automated tools to identify and label similar content across the platform. The company’s goal is to potentially use both automated and human reviews to fix Covid-19 misinformation. However, it would take time for the system to be effective.
Twitter will notify people when a label is applied to one of their tweets and repeated violations of the Covid-19 policy will lead to stricter enforcement, the company said. Two or three strikes will result in a 12-hour account ban, while four strikes will result in a 7-day account ban. After five strikes, Twitter said the company will permanently suspend the account. (Twitter allows users to Appeal if accounts are accidentally blocked or blocked.)
The company said it made these changes to encourage healthy conversations on the platform and help people find reliable information. Since the introduction of his Covid-19 guidelines from last MarchAccording to Twitter, more than 8,400 tweets have been removed and 11.5 million accounts have been notified of potential violations worldwide.
Two years ago, YouTube changed its recommendation algorithm to reduce the visibility of so-called borderline content – videos that break the rules but don’t explicitly break them – to curb the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the site.
However, these changes have not halted the rapid spread of video via QAnon, an exposed internet conspiracy theory a research report on Tuesday from Pendulum, a company tracking misinformation on YouTube.
Online video channels with QAnon content generated more than a billion views in 2020, of which 910 million were on YouTube alone, an increase of 38 percent compared to 2019, the report said. When YouTube started breaking right away For people who published the QAnon conspiracy theories in October, the biggest channels switched to smaller platforms, BitChute and Rumble.
Sam Clark, co-founder of Pendulum, said the study “shows that the moderation provided by YouTube is not enough to stop the growth in total viewers of this content.”
The report highlighted the crucial role YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, played in the movement QAnon from a fringe phenomenon into the mainstream with violent offline consequences.
In one latest national survey17 percent of respondents said they believed in one of the cornerstones of QAnon – that a group of devil-worshiping elites who run a sex ring for children seek to control politics and the media. And QAnon believers were involved in the deadly Capitol riot as well as other off-line acts of violence in January.
“While we welcome more peer-reviewed research, our data contradicts Pendulum’s findings. In the past few months alone, we’ve shut down many well-known QAnon channels and removed thousands of videos for violating our guidelines,” said Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube publisher Spokesman in a statement.
Mr Shadloo said Pendulum’s samples were not comprehensive and did not accurately reflect what was popular or what was viewed on YouTube. He added that a number of factors could lead to an increase in views, including a sudden surge in media coverage, attention from public figures, and sharing outside of YouTube.
According to YouTube changed his algorithm In January 2019, views from referrals from a number of Pro-QAnon channels fell more than 80 percent. The October updated policy said YouTube would no longer allow content aimed at individuals or groups with conspiracy theories used to justify violence in the real world.
According to Pendulum, YouTube removed 91,000 videos from 285 of the largest QAnon channels, removing roughly half of those channels in total. YouTube has not disclosed the full implications of its policy change, but said the majority of its well-known QAnon channels have been shut down.
However, YouTube’s actions didn’t stop the biggest QAnon content creators. They simply switched to smaller video platforms with less restrictive moderation guidelines like BitChute and Rumble.
When YouTube went live in October, the number of daily views of QAnon channels on all three platforms dropped from 2.7 million to 1.3 million. When the followers of these top developers switched to the smaller platforms, daily views rose again to 2.2 million in December.
And after the Capitol attack, the QAnon channels had their highest month ever – beating their previous record by 30 percent, with the most views on BitChute and Rumble.
Pendulum referred to one channel as the QAnon Channel when 30 percent of the most viewed videos discussed conspiracy theory in a supportive manner or suggested that the creator of the content was a believer.
On Monday Facebook announced that it prohibited vaccine misinformation. It followed on Wednesday from Removing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Instagram Account, one of the most famous anti-vaccine activists on social media.
Facebook has become increasingly aggressive in recent months when it comes to combating a barrage of false health claims, conspiracy theories, and rumors. The company acts as a vaccine against at a critical moment the coronavirus roll out worldwide. Facebook has said it consulted with the World Health Organization and other leading health institutes to determine this a list of false or misleading claims about Covid-19 and vaccines in general.
Even so, dozens of prominent anti-vaccine activists remained active on Facebook and Instagram, according to an analysis by the New York Times on Thursday. Some of the accounts had huge followers, including the Instagram account for Children’s Health Defense, the nonprofit that Mr. Kennedy runs and which has over 172,000 followers.
A search for the word “vaccine” on Instagram Thursday showed that four of the top 10 accounts held strong positions against vaccines. A search for the hashtag #vaccine returned three results, one of which was #vaccinetruthadvocate, a term anti-vaccine activists often use to get their message across. The hashtag was attached to more than 12,000 posts.
“This will take some time, however, but we are working on addressing your comments,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement.
Researchers studying misinformation said Facebook continues to struggle to contain Covid-19 lies.
“Months after they promised to tackle Covid misinformation, we reported hundreds of posts with dangerous misinformation to Facebook, but only one in ten posts was removed,” said Imran Ahmed, executive director of the non-profit center to combat digital hate. “Millions of people are being fed dangerous lies that lead them to doubt government guidelines on Covid and vaccines, which is prolonging the pandemic. These lies cost lives. “
Here’s a look at some of the prominent reports still spreading vaccine misinformation on Instagram.
Health protection for children
The non-profit organization regularly sponsors seminars and webinars with vaccine skeptics through its Instagram account and publishes misleading reports of deaths and injuries related to the Covid vaccine. Many of his posts receive tens of thousands of likes. The organization has not returned a request for comment.
As a writer and speaker who has campaigned against vaccines for years, Ms. Elizabeth has over 122,000 Instagram followers on her Health Nut News page and 23,700 on another site she operates. She regularly shares content that is against “compulsory vaccination. ”She did not return a request for comment.
Mr Ayyudurai, an Indian-American politician, has over 299,000 followers on Instagram. He made the false claim that Covid-19 can be treated with vitamin C. He has also accused the “deep state” or conspiracy theory that a secret cabal rules the government of spreading Covid-19. He did not return a request for comment.
Misinformation about the second impeachment trial against former President Donald J. Trump is swirling online much more slowly than the first impeachment trial against him – at least until now.
Media Insights company Zignal Labs gathered misinformation about the impeachment process from January 25 to February 9 and found three emerging untruths that had received thousands of mentions on social media and cable TV, as well as print and online news outlets.
However, the falsehoods hadn’t caught as much resonance as misinformation about Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial or the outcome of the 2020 election. Still, the data shows how virtually every news event is an opportunity to spread lies and spread divisive rumors, backed by Social media algorithms, eager audiences, and a broken fact-checking system.
Here is the three most popular misinformation about impeachment.
Nancy Pelosi is responsible for the attack on the Capitol: 30,300 mentions
The lie that Congressman Nancy Pelosi somehow knew a mob was about to storm the Capitol and used the impeachment process as a “diversion” was reinforced by Senator Ron Johnson on Fox News on February 7th.
“We now know that 45 Republican senators believe this is unconstitutional,” Johnson told Fox News, referring to the impeachment process. “Is that another diversion operation? Should this differ from what the speaker knew and when she knew? I don’t know, but I am suspicious. “
A video clip of the interview was viewed at least 2.1 million times on Twitter.
The attack on the Capitol was pre-planned and undercut the basis of impeachment: 8,135 mentions
The lie that the Capitol attack was pre-planned and “undercut the premise of Trump’s impeachment” prevailed on Feb. 8 when a conservative outlet called Just the News published an article detailing the claim. The article was shared 7,400 times on Twitter and at least 3,000 times on Facebook.
The founder of Just the News, John Solomon – a Washington-based media personality who has been instrumental in spreading falsehoods about the Bidens and Ukraine – shared the falsehood through his own Twitter account and garnered thousands of likes and retweets. Other Twitter users then picked up the rumor and further amplified the false narrative.
Focusing on what was planned in advance shouldn’t affect the impeachment process itself, according to the 144 constitutional lawyers who filed one written analysis of the case against Mr Trump. They said that many of them believe that “President Trump may be convicted and disqualified for accusing him of taking his oath through an ‘extraordinary, unprecedented rejection of the president’s duties to protect the government’ through his’ further acts and omissions his inciting hurting crowd to attack the Capitol. ‘”
Renewed calls to indict Obama for “spying on Trump”: 5,017 mentions
The story that it is not too late to indict former President Barack Obama caught on on Twitter on January 26th. Thousands of Twitter users shared an old one suggestion from Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, that if a past president can be charged, Mr. Obama should be tried for espionage against Trump.
The false narration was a revival of “Spygate”- a labyrinthine conspiracy theory that includes unsubstantiated allegations of a secret democratic conspiracy to spy on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. But the theory became puzzled when none of Mr. Trump’s political enemies have been charged with crimes for the past four years. And in 2019 a highly anticipated report from the Inspector General of the Department of Justice found no evidence a politicized conspiracy to spy on the Trump campaign.
Facebook said Monday that it plans to remove posts from its platform containing flawed claims about vaccines, including repealing claims that vaccines cause autism or that it is safer for people to contract the coronavirus than receiving the vaccinations .
The social network has increasingly changed its content policies over the past year as the coronavirus has risen sharply. In October the social network prohibited Individuals and companies from purchasing advertisements containing false or misleading information about vaccines. In December, Facebook said It would remove posts with allegations debunked by the World Health Organization or government agencies.
Monday’s move goes even further by targeting unpaid posts to the website and especially Facebook pages and groups. Instead of just aiming Misinformation about Covid-19 vaccinesThe update includes false information about all vaccines. Facebook said it had consulted with the World Health Organization and other leading health institutes to determine this a list of false or misleading claims about Covid-19 and vaccines in general.
In the past, Facebook had announced that it would only “rank down” or push down on people’s news feeds, leading to misleading or false claims about vaccines, making it harder to find such groups or posts. Now posts, pages and groups containing such untruths will be completely removed from the platform.
“Building trust in these vaccines is critical, so we are launching the world’s largest campaign to help public health organizations share accurate information about Covid-19 vaccines and encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as possible they have vaccines available, “said Kang-Xing Jin, head of health at Facebook, said in a company blog entry.
The company said the changes were in response to a recent decision made by the Facebook oversight board, an independent body that reviews the decisions made by the company’s policy team and determines whether they are fair. In a decision, the board said Facebook needed to create a new standard for health-related misinformation because its current rules were “inappropriately vague”.
Facebook also said it would give $ 120 million in advertising loans to ministries of health, non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies to help spread reliable Covid-19 vaccines and preventive health information. As vaccination centers became more prevalent, Facebook would help direct people to places to get the vaccine.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has taken proactive measures against false information in connection with the coronavirus. He has often seen Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, hosted on Facebook for live video updates on America’s response to coronavirus. In his private philanthropy, Mr. Zuckerberg has also vowed to “eradicate all diseases” and pledge billions to fight viruses and other diseases.
However, Mr Zuckerberg was also a staunch advocate of free speech on Facebook and was previously reluctant to contain most falsehoods, even if they were potentially dangerous. The exception was Facebook’s policy of not tolerating statements that could lead to “immediate, direct physical harm” to people on or outside the platform.
Facebook has been criticized for this stance, including for allowing President Donald J. Trump to stay on the platform until after the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol.
Public health advocates and outside critics have questioned Facebook’s refusal to remove false or misleading claims about vaccines for years. That led to one Increase in incorrect vaccine information, often by people or groups who post other harmful misinformation on the site. Even when Facebook tried to update its policies, it often left loopholes that were exploited by misinformation spreaders.
Facebook announced on Monday that it was also changing its search tools to post relevant, authoritative results on coronavirus and vaccine information while making it harder to find accounts that are preventing people from getting vaccinated.
Since representative Alexandria Ocasio-CortezThe New York Democrat described on Instagram Live on Monday how the January 6 uprising was in the Capitol complex. Critics have claimed that she was not where she said she was or that she could not have experienced what she described from where she was.
These claims are wrong.
While Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t in the main building of the dome when the rioters broke through it, she never said it was her. She described exactly how she was located in the Cannon House Office Building, which is part of the Capitol complex and is connected to the main building by tunnels.
On her livestream, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez remembered hiding in a bathroom and thought she was going to die when strangers walked into her office and shouted, “Where is she?” It turned out to be police officers of the Capitol who had not been clearly identified, and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said so on Instagram. She didn’t claim they were rioters – just that from their hiding place at first she thought they were.
During the uprising, Reporters wrote on Twitter that the cannon building had been evacuated because of credible threats and that Capitol cops were running down the hallways and entering offices just as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had described.
The false claims about their testimony have spread widely online. Much of the backlash resulted from an article on the conservative RedState blog and a livestream from right-wing commentator Steven Crowder. Am Donnerstag twitterte die Repräsentantin Nancy Mace, Republikanerin von South Carolina: “Ich bin zwei Türen von @aoc entfernt und keine Aufständischen stürmten unseren Flur.”
Aber Frau Ocasio-Cortez hat nie gesagt, dass Aufständische diesen Flur gestürmt haben, und Frau Mace selbst hat beschrieben, dass sie genug Angst hat, um ihre eigene Tür zu verbarrikadieren. Eine Sprecherin von Frau Mace sagte am Freitag, dass der Tweet der Kongressabgeordneten als “Anklage gegen die Medien wegen der Meldung, dass es in unserem Flur Aufständische gab, obwohl es tatsächlich keine gab” gedacht war und dass er “überhaupt nicht an Ocasio gerichtet war” -Cortez. “
“Als der Kapitolkomplex gestürmt wurde und Menschen getötet wurden, wusste keiner von uns im Moment, welche Gebiete kompromittiert wurden.” Frau Ocasio-Cortez twitterte als Antwort auf den Beitrag von Frau Mace. (Eine Sprecherin von Frau Ocasio-Cortez sagte, der Gesetzgeber habe keinen zusätzlichen Kommentar.)
Andere haben den Bericht von Frau Ocasio-Cortez bestätigt und bestätigt, dass das Kanonengebäude bedroht war, obwohl die Randalierer es letztendlich nicht verletzt hatten.
Ari Rabin-Havt, stellvertretender Manager der Präsidentschaftskampagne 2020 von Senator Bernie Sanders, getwittert dass er während des Angriffs in den Kapitaltunneln war. Als Herr Rabin-Havt auf das Kanonengebäude zuging, schrien ihn Mitglieder eines SWAT-Teams an, um ein Versteck zu finden.
Und Vertreterin Katie Porter, Demokratin von Kalifornien, sagte auf MSNBC Nachdem das Cannon-Gebäude evakuiert worden war, schützten sie und Frau Ocasio-Cortez in Frau Porters Büro in einem anderen Gebäude. Sie sagte, Frau Ocasio-Cortez sei eindeutig verängstigt, öffnete Schränke, um Verstecke zu finden, und wünschte sich laut, sie hätte Wohnungen statt Absätze getragen, falls sie rennen müsste.
Jacob Silver trug zur Berichterstattung bei.
Dominion-Abstimmungssysteme, einer der größten Anbieter von Wahlgeräten in den USA, hat am Montag eine Klage wegen Verleumdung gegen Rudolph W. Giuliani eingereichtund beschuldigte ihn, in seinen Bemühungen im Namen des ehemaligen Präsidenten Donald J. Trump, die Wahl zu untergraben, eine Litanei von Unwahrheiten über das Unternehmen verbreitet zu haben.
Die Klage zeichnet mehr als 50 ungenaue Aussagen von Herrn Giuliani in den Wochen nach der Wahl auf und gibt eine punktuelle Widerlegung jeder Lüge heraus. Hier sind vier der häufigsten falschen Aussagen, die Herr Giuliani zu Dominion Voting Systems gemacht hat.
1. Der Ursprung des Unternehmens
Herr Giuliani erklärte regelmäßig fälschlicherweise, dass Dominion „wirklich ein venezolanisches Unternehmen ist“ und dass es „vollständig von der Software von Smartmatic abhängt“, einem Unternehmen, das „etwa 2004, 2005 entwickelt wurde, um Chavez beim Diebstahl von Wahlen zu helfen“.
Dominion schreibt in seiner Klage: „Dominion wurde nicht in Venezuela gegründet, um Wahlen für Hugo Chávez festzulegen. Es wurde 2002 im Keller von John Poulos in Toronto gegründet, um Blinden bei der Abstimmung über Papierstimmen zu helfen. “ Die Klage fügt später hinzu, dass sich der Hauptsitz der US-amerikanischen Tochtergesellschaft des Unternehmens in Denver befindet.
2. Stimmen programmieren
Eine andere oft wiederholte Behauptung war, dass Dominion seine Maschinen so programmiert hatte, dass sie Stimmen umdrehen: „Mit anderen Worten, wenn Sie Biden gedrückt haben, haben Sie Trump, und wenn Sie Trump gedrückt haben, haben Sie Biden.“
Dies wurde von zahlreichen Regierungs- und Strafverfolgungsbeamten als falsch erwiesen, einschließlich des ehemaligen Generalstaatsanwalts William P. Barr, der im Dezember sagte: „Es gab eine Behauptung, die systemischen Betrug darstellen würde, und das wäre die Behauptung, dass Maschinen im Wesentlichen darauf programmiert wurden die Wahlergebnisse verzerren. Und der D.H.S. und D.O.J. Ich habe mich damit befasst und bisher haben wir nichts gesehen, was dies belegen könnte. “
In ähnlicher Weise wurde in einer gemeinsamen Erklärung zahlreicher Regierungs- und Wahlbeamter und -agenturen, einschließlich der Nationalen Vereinigung der Staatswahldirektoren, der Nationalen Vereinigung der Staatssekretäre und der Agentur für Cybersicherheit und Infrastruktursicherheit, festgestellt, dass es „keine Beweise für ein Abstimmungssystem gibt gelöschte oder verlorene Stimmen, geänderte Stimmen oder in irgendeiner Weise kompromittiert. “
Die Handzählung in Georgia bestätigte auch, dass die Maschinenzählungen in diesem Zustand korrekt waren.
3. Antrim County, Mich.
Herr Giuliani konzentrierte sich auf Antrim County, Michigan, und behauptete fälschlicherweise, dass eine “Dominion-Maschine dort 6.000 Stimmen von Trump nach Biden geworfen” habe und dass Maschinen in der Grafschaft “62 Prozent ungenau” seien und eine “68-prozentige Fehlerrate” hätten. und hatte eine “Ablehnungsrate von 81,9 Prozent”.
Mr. Giuliani’s focus on Antrim County stems from human errors made by the county clerk on election night. According to the lawsuit, the clerk “mistakenly failed to update all of the voting machines’ tabulator memory cards.” But the suit says that “her mistakes were promptly caught as part of the normal canvass process before the election result was made official.” The Michigan secretary of state’s office also conducted a hand audit of all presidential votes in Antrim County that found the machines were accurate.
4. A Problematic Expert
Mr. Giuliani claimed that his accusations, particularly in Antrim County, were backed up by experts. But he largely relied on one man, Russell Ramsland Jr., a former Republican congressional candidate from Texas, who, according to the lawsuit filed by Dominion, had also publicly favored false conspiracy theories.
Dominion spent more than five pages on Mr. Ramsland’s lack of credentials to properly examine equipment, noting that he had a “fundamental misunderstanding of election software.” The suit also quotes the former acting director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Voting System Testing and Certification program, saying the report produced by Mr. Ramsland “showed a ‘grave misunderstanding’ of Antrim County’s voting system and ‘a lack of knowledge of election technology and process.’”
Twitter said on Monday it would allow some users to fact-check misleading tweets, the latest effort by the company to combat misinformation.
Users who join the program, called Birdwatch, can add notes to rebut false or misleading posts and rate the reliability of the fact-checking annotations made by other users. Users in the United States who verify their email addresses and phone numbers with Twitter, and have not violated Twitter’s rules in recent months, can apply to join Birdwatch.
Twitter will start Birdwatch as a small pilot program with 1,000 users, and the fact-checking they produce will not be visible on Twitter but will appear on a separate site. If the experiment is successful, Twitter plans to expand the program to more than 100,000 people in the coming months and will make their contributions visible to all users.
Twitter continues to grapple with misinformation on the platform. In the months before the U.S. presidential election, Twitter added fact-check labels written by its own employees to tweets from prominent accounts, temporarily disabled its recommendation algorithm, and added more context to trending topics. Still, false claims about the coronavirus and elections have proliferated on Twitter despite the company’s efforts to remove them. But Twitter has also faced backlash from some users who have argued that the company removes too much information.
Giving some control over moderation directly to users could help restore trust and allow the company to move more quickly to address false claims, Twitter said.
“We apply labels and add context to tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention,” Keith Coleman, a vice president of product at Twitter, wrote in a blog post announcing the program. “We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help.”
Followers of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, have spent weeks anticipating that Wednesday would be the “Great Awakening” — a day, long foretold in QAnon prophecy, when top Democrats would be arrested for running a global sex trafficking ring and President Trump would seize a second term in office.
But as President Biden took office and Mr. Trump landed in Florida, with no mass arrests in sight, some believers struggled to harmonize the falsehoods with the inauguration on their TVs.
Some QAnon believers tried to rejigger their theories to accommodate a transfer of power to Mr. Biden. Several large QAnon groups discussed on Wednesday the possibility that they had been wrong about Mr. Biden, and that the incoming president was actually part of Mr. Trump’s effort to take down the global cabal.
“The more I think about it, I do think it’s very possible that Biden will be the one who pulls the trigger,” one account wrote in a QAnon channel on the messaging app Telegram.
Others expressed anger with QAnon influencers who had told believers to expect a dramatic culmination on Inauguration Day.
“A lot of YouTube journalists have just lost one hell of a lot of credibility,” wrote a commenter in one QAnon chat room.
Still others attempted to shift the goal posts, and simply told their fellow “anons” to hang on and wait for future, unspecified developments.
“Don’t worry about what happens at 12 p.m.,” wrote one QAnon influencer. “Watch what happens after that.”
And some appeared to realize that they’d been duped.
“It’s over,” one QAnon chat room participant wrote, just after Mr. Biden’s swearing-in.
“Wake up,” another wrote. “We’ve been had.”
Followers hoping for guidance from “Q,” the pseudonymous message board user whose posts power the movement, were bound to be disappointed. The account has been silent for weeks, and had not posted Wednesday.
Ron Watkins, a major QAnon booster whom some have suspected of being “Q” himself, posted a note of resignation on his Telegram channel on Wednesday afternoon.
“We have a new president sworn in and it is our responsibility as citizens to respect the Constitution,” he wrote. “As we enter into the next administration please remember all the friends and happy memories we made together over the past few years.”
Some of the people who stormed the Capitol last week haven’t been solely focused on the election. They have also been prominent purveyors of coronavirus falsehoods.
There was Mikki Willis, a video producer who helped make “Plandemic,” a 26-minute slickly produced narration that was viewed by millions in May that falsely claimed a shadowy cabal of Democratic elites was using the virus and a potential vaccine to profit and gain power.
Then there was Simone Gold, who was part of a group of doctors who were in a viral video on the steps of the Supreme Court in July sharing multiple misleading claims about the coronavirus.
Both appeared in videos of the Capitol siege.
Their presence demonstrates how the disinformation networks that drove the spread of Covid-19 falsehoods are integrated with the networks spreading voter fraud disinformation, said Kate Starbird, a University of Washington associate professor studying online disinformation.
Several prominent anti-vaccination activist groups, including the Natural News website as well as several large groups and influencers on Facebook and Instagram with hundreds of thousands of followers, reveled in the events on the Capitol and posted prolifically about it. “Grab some 🍿 and enjoy the show!” said one Instagram post with images of the Capitol being raided. The post collected 2,700 likes.
People connected to those networks, Ms. Starbird said, “are saturated in disinformation and experiencing a very different, grievance-based reality than the rest of us.”
Mr. Willis entered the Capitol building, but said in a Facebook post that he did not go in far and left quickly. In a speech right after the siege, he was captured in a video speaking to a crowd of people and referring to those who had pushed into the Capitol as “compatriots.” He also railed against the left and the “diabolical” and “corrupt tyrants” of the mainstream media. “This is psychological warfare,” Mr. Willis said in the video. “This is what war looks like today.”
In an email, Mr. Willis said he had made plans to attend the rally at the Capitol because he was “deeply concerned about the loss of our civil liberties.” He added that he found out too late that the rally he was meant to attend, called Health Freedom DC, included the “Make America Great Again” tagline associated with President Trump. Mr. Willis said he did not support any political party and his presence in videos had been “terribly distorted.”
In his email, Mr. Willis said, “I’ve only seen the violence on TV and social media.”
Ms. Gold, the doctor who shared misleading information about the coronavirus, appeared in a video on the tiled Rotunda floor at the Capitol, reciting a speech from a sheaf of papers protesting a “massive medical establishment,” according to The Washington Post.
In a separate video that went viral after “Plandemic,” which collected tens of million views in July, Ms. Gold appeared with a group of doctors calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors, which she founded. The group was sponsored by conservative activists called the Tea Party Patriots Action and the video spread the misleading message that hydroxychloroquine was an effective coronavirus treatment and that masks did not slow the spread of the virus.
Ms. Gold later said, “I do regret being there.” She did not respond to requests for comment.
Facebook said on Thursday that it is identifying people involved in storming the Capitol last week and disabling their accounts.
An unsubstantiated claim that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a prominent conservative activist, “paid” for dozens of buses to ferry demonstrators to Washington have proliferated online after a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol last week.
Just three tweets making the claim amassed more than 420,000 retweets and shares. Ms. Thomas did endorse the protests in Facebook posts on Wednesday (she appears to have since deleted her Facebook page) and has previously spread conspiracy theories.
Ms. Thomas did not immediately respond to emails and a phone call for comment, but there is no evidence that she funded transportation for the rioters.
The rumors may have originated from — and mischaracterized — a popular tweet from the writer Anne Nelson pointing out that Ms. Thomas is on the advisory board of Turning Point USA, a conservative student group.
The founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, said in a since-deleted tweet that Turning Point’s political action arm and an affiliated group, Students for Trump, were sending more than 80 “buses of patriots to D.C. to fight for the president” on Jan. 6.
While 80 buses was the number that Turning Point Action had committed to funding, Mr. Kirk’s tweet was “ultimately inaccurate” as the groups ended up sending just seven buses from New Jersey, North Carolina, and other locations, according to a spokesman for Turning Point.
Ms. Thomas did not fund any buses herself, the spokesman said. Ms. Nelson, the author of a book about an influential conservative group whose members include Ms. Thomas, also told The New York Times that the claim that Ms. Thomas “paid for buses” is “far beyond any of the documentation I’ve presented.”
An itinerary provided to The New York Times by Turning Point noted that the buses would arrive at the South Lawn of the White House at 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, and that there was no exact time for the buses to depart because the duration of Mr. Trump’s speech was unclear. It did not provide any instructions about joining the march to the Capitol, and Brian Caviness, a student who traveled with the group, was quoted by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram as saying that he did not do so as “that wasn’t part of the plan.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Friday that there was no evidence that supporters of the antifa movement — a loose collective of antifascist activists — had participated in the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol building on Wednesday.
Steven D’Antuono, an assistant director at the agency, said in a call with reporters that there was “no indication” of the group’s involvement among the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
Since Wednesday, far-right activists and allies of the president have made the claim, often while presenting easily disproved evidence, that the rioters were made up of antifa supporters, not backers of President Trump.
Among those pushing the falsehood were Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, who said while objecting to the electoral votes for Mr. Biden that people in the mob were “in fact members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, also said antifa was involved.
But even President Trump acknowledged that the people who supported him — not liberal activists — had invaded the Capitol. At one point on Wednesday he told the mob, “we love you.”
An analysis by the media insights company Zignal Labs found that the unfounded rumor had been mentioned 411,099 times across cable television, social media, and in print and online news outlets on Wednesday and Thursday. It was by far the most widely shared false or misleading claim about the Capitol Hill mob, Zignal said.
Adam Goldman contributed reporting.
Misinformation and distortions of the truth have run rampant on social media in the days after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, disrupting lawmakers counting electoral votes to certify President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win.
A conservative outlet, The Washington Times, claimed that facial recognition showed evidence that the mob was made up of members of antifa, a loose network of anti-fascist activists. The article has since been corrected. Other misleading and false articles and posts claimed that the mob’s work was a “setup” or an “inside job.” And still others said President Trump would soon declassify information on how the election was stolen.
The media insights company Zignal Labs compiled a list of the most popular false and misleading narratives on social media about Wednesday’s events, counting their mentions on cable television and social media and in print and online news outlets on Wednesday and Thursday. Here is the list.
1. Rioters on the Capitol were actually antifa: 411,099 mentions
The false narrative that antifa supporters were actually behind the unrest at the Capitol peaked at 66,122 mentions on Wednesday evening, according to Zignal’s data. Rep. Matt Gaetz even referenced the false Washington Times article as proof that the mob was “in fact members of the violent terrorist group antifa. ”
On Thursday, The Washington Times published a new version of its article, reporting that it was actually “neo-Nazis and other extremists” who were identified in photos of the mob, after BuzzFeed News challenged the outlet’s reporting.
2. The mob’s actions were a “setup” and an “inside job”: 122,287 mentions
The idea that the mob’s work was an inside job spread widely on social media, even though there was no evidence to support the conspiracy theory. People said the setup had been planned by the “deep state,” which is shorthand for the conspiracy theory about Democratic elites secretly exercising political control over the public. The narrative peaked at 12,593 mentions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Zignal’s data.
3. President Trump knew that the mob would happen, and people should “trust the plan” and “hold the line”: 83,990 mentions
The distorted idea that President Trump knew about the mob’s actions in advance and that people should “trust the plan” and “hold the line” was widespread especially among supporters of the conspiracy movement QAnon — which is based upon the false premise that the country is run by a Democrat-led cabal of pedophiles whom President Trump is bringing down.
4. The mob at the Capitol was made up of people “posing as MAGA”: 64,258 mentions
A popular false narrative that people in the mob were simply “posing as MAGA” peaked early on Wednesday, before accusations specifically zeroed in on antifa.
5. President Trump will “declassify” information on how the election was stolen: 63,190 mentions
Some supporters of the president pushed the falsehood that he would soon “declassify” information on how the election was stolen, in spite of overwhelming evidence — and a host of court rulings — that no widespread fraud was found in the election.
In some versions of the baseless rumor, people stated that this was the real reason that Mr. Trump’s opponents in Congress were calling on the president to be stripped of his power from office under the disability clause of the 25th Amendment.