Facing immense pressure, Facebook had no choice but to ban new political ads week before election


Facebook Inc.’s first action to limit political advertising in the U.S. with a ban of news ads in the week preceding the Nov. 3 elections announced Thursday comes amid unrelenting criticism that its platform fuels misinformation and is a haven for far-right groups.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who in particular has taken heat for political manipulation of the social-media company’s platform during the 2016 U.S. elections, made the announcement early Thursday in another attempt to tamp down meddling.

“It’s important that campaigns can run ‘get out the vote campaigns’, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims,” Zuckerberg said.

The specter of voter manipulation has weighed heavily on Facebook. The company is running what it calls the largest voting information campaign in American history, with a goal of helping 4 million people to register and vote. Last month, Facebook launched a Voting Information Center to help users with accurate, easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live. The addendum will link to a new voter information hub similar to one about COVID-19 that Facebook says has been seen by billions of people globally.

See also: Facebook hardens digital defense for misinformation ahead of elections

However, Facebook’s latest election-integrity move was immediately met with skepticism from privacy groups that argue Facebook should be fact-checking and removing political ads, in addition to intentionally deceptive posts, that proliferate across its platform that includes Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Some openly questioned why the ban didn’t extend longer, and if money trumped principle.

“Nothing more than a PR stunt designed to distract from the fact that Facebook is the single biggest vector of dangerous misinformation and voter suppression campaigns in the United States. It falls well short of even being a half measure,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of national women’s organization UltraViolet, said in a statement.

Others were more positive about the new policy. “It’s a strange feeling to read something by Mark Zuckerberg and say, ‘Yup, yup, yup,’” said Claire Wardle, the U.S. director of First Draft, a nonprofit group that combats misinformation. “I’m pretty excited by it.”

Election interference remains top of mind at Facebook, which is as concerned about vote counting in the days and perhaps weeks following Nov. 3. Officials at Facebook, Twitter Inc.
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and elsewhere have hinted there could be attempts by politically motivated groups to question the legitimacy of votes, including mail-in ballots.

Read more: Facebook and Twitter are concerned about what is going to happen after Election Day

Facebook, which is under investigation for anti-competitive business practices by the Federal Trade Commission, faces immense political pressure for the torrent of information it fire-hoses to its 2.7 billion monthly active users.

Despite the relatively civil relationship between Zuckerberg and President Donald J. Trump, who has nearly 31 million followers on the social network, it might only take a mild disciplinary action by Facebook over Trump’s profile feed to raise his ire and prompt regulatory punishment, Anurag Chandra, a partner at venture-capital firm Fort Ross Ventures, told MarketWatch.

The White House said as much in a terse statement Thursday.

“In the last seven days of the most important election in our history, President Trump will be banned from defending himself on the largest platform in America,” Samantha Zager, the campaign’s deputy national press secretary, said in a statement. “When millions of voters will be making their decisions, the President will be silenced by the Silicon Valley Mafia, who will at the same time allow corporate media to run their biased ads to swing voters in key states.”

The campaign of Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., had no immediate comment.

Facebook
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-2.88%

shares declined 3.8% in trading Thursday in a as tech stocks were routed in a selloff.



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Facebook and Twitter are concerned about what is going to happen after Election Day


Securing democracy on social media may be hardest after Americans vote in the presidential election.

In what is shaping up as a newfangled nightmare in their efforts to stop election interference, Facebook Inc.
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, Twitter Inc.
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and others are as concerned about misinformation and other issues in days after the U.S. election as they are in the months preceding it, including Election Day.

“How do we ensure that voters have accurate information?” as election results are counted in the days following the Nov. 3 presidential election, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, asked during a Tuesday webinar on protecting the upcoming elections. He did not elaborate, but hinted there could be attempts by politically motivated groups to question the legitimacy of votes, including mail-in ballots.

President Donald Trump has endlessly claimed without evidence that voting by mail — expected to increase dramatically because of the pandemic — is susceptible to large-scale fraud. (Nearly one in four voters cast 2016 presidential ballots that way.)

Yoel Roth, head of site integrity at Twitter, echoed those concerns, but he added that social-media companies are better positioned this time around than four years ago. He said the micro-blogging service is promoting “credible, authoritative information” during political-party conventions, presidential and vice-presidential debates, and election results in November.

Gleicher added that Facebook is detecting more “bad actors” than in elections in 2018 and 2016, through a greater understanding of the risk, and through coordination with academia, media, and state and local officials.

Their fears come amid concerted efforts by Facebook, Twitter and others to tamp down on misinformation concerning the U.S. elections.

Facebook, which has repeatedly acknowledged its part in being exploited by foreign and domestic adversaries during the 2016 presidential election with fake news and misinformation, this month launched a Voting Information Center to help users with accurate, easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live.

Read more: Facebook hardens digital defense for misinformation ahead of elections

The addendum will link to a new voter information hub similar to one about COVID-19 that Facebook says has been seen by billions of people globally. The labels will read, “Visit the Voting Information Center for election resources and official updates.” Facebook expects the voter hub to reach at least 160 million people in the U.S. In July, the company began adding similar links to misleading posts by politicians, including Trump, about voting.

Twitter, meanwhile, has said it will roll out measures on new tools, policies and voting resources, as well as expand its “civic integrity policies” to address misrepresentations about mail-in voting. In January, the company created a feature that lets users report voter suppression and misinformation.

Among other companies, Snap Inc.
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+1.19%

has unveiled a “Voter Registration Mini” tool so users can register to vote directly in Snapchat. It also posted a “Voter Guide” with information about topics such as voting by mail and voter registration.



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Palantir takes swings at Silicon Valley on its way to Wall Street


Palantir Technologies Inc., a software company founded in Silicon Valley to help governments and companies collect and parse data, used its Tuesday filing for a direct listing to confirm a move away from the California technology hub and declare that “we seem to share fewer and fewer of the technology sector’s values and commitments.”

The controversial and secretive software company, co-founded by Facebook Inc.
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board member and Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel, made its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission public Tuesday. The document begins with a letter from Chief Executive Alexander Karp that defends Palantir’s work with governments and militaries around the world and declares its differences with Silicon Valley, while confirming a headquarters move to Denver.

“Our company was founded in Silicon Valley,” Karp wrote. “But we seem to share fewer and fewer of the technology sector’s values and commitments.”

CEO letters are rather common in filings for initial public offerings and direct listings, but Palantir took the approach one step further by making Karp’s letter the first section of its filing. The letter seemed to relish in calling out advertising-based business models such as Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s
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Google.

“From the start, we have repeatedly turned down opportunities to sell, collect, or mine data. Other technology companies, including some of the largest in the world, have built their entire businesses on doing just that,” Karp wrote. “Software projects with our nation’s defense and intelligence agencies, whose missions are to keep us safe, have become controversial, while companies built on advertising dollars are commonplace. For many consumer internet companies, our thoughts and inclinations, behaviors and browsing habits, are the product for sale. The slogans and marketing of many of the Valley’s largest technology firms attempt to obscure this simple fact.”

Palantir has faced acrimony and anger far beyond Silicon Valley for its secretive work with powerful entities.The company has contracts with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including for software used to track migrants at the border. Because of that, it has been targeted by protesters and activists including Mijente, an immigration advocacy group.

“This is not just a question of one pocket of the country, the protests are happening nationwide,” said Jacinta Gonzalez, senior campaign director at Mijente.

“Palantir is complicit in the surveillance, arrest and deportation of our communities through their work with ICE,” Gonzalez said. “Their S-1 recognizes that these are risky contracts to take on. We’re calling on investors everywhere not to invest when the IPO happens.”

See also: The CEO who made one of Silicon Valley’s worst acquisitions wants a $400 million blank check

Karp said that Palantir employees “embrace the complexity” of deals that involve helping government surveil people, and other ethically questionable actions.

“The construction of software platforms that enable more effective surveillance by the state of its adversaries or that assist soldiers in executing attacks raises countless issues, involving the points of tension and tradeoffs between our collective security and individual privacy, the power of machines, and the types of lives we both want to and should lead,” Karp wrote. “The ethical challenges that arise are constant and unrelenting. We embrace the complexity that comes from working in areas where the stakes are often very high and the choices may be imperfect.”

Irina Raicu, the director of internet ethics at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, told MarketWatch on Tuesday that Karp’s letter “includes some very old (and repeatedly debunked) Silicon Valley tropes,” and pushed back against three specific points the CEO made.

“For example, that ‘[t]he bargain between the public and the technology sector has for the most part been consensual, in that the value of the products and services available seemed to outweigh the invasions of privacy that enabled their rise,’” Raicu wrote in an email, quoting Karp’s letter. “It has become very clear, over the past several years, that the public had no understanding of the privacy-invasive practices behind many of the services it was offered; had assumed that laws were in place to prevent such practices; and has been pushing for new laws to prevent them.”

In response to Karp’s claim that Americans will not “remain tolerant of the idiosyncrasies and excesses of the Valley,” Raicu said that Americans have not been tolerant of the Valley’s actions for years, adding “Surely Palantir has crunched enough data to be aware of that.”

As to Karp’s statement that Palantir has “chosen sides” between Silicon Valley and the government, Raicu said Palantir’s “clients in law enforcement and intelligence agencies do not represent a different ‘side’ from the American public.”

Read: Facebook and Twitter are worried about the day after Election Day

While attacking Silicon Valley, Palantir still is retaining some of the DNA of the tech hub, especially in regards to retaining power with its founders after going public, just as Mark Zuckerberg maintains control of Facebook and Sergey Brin and Larry Page still rule over Google. The company created a three-tiered stock structure that gives one vote to publicly available shares, 10 votes to class B insider shares, and “variable” votes to “class F” shares owned by its three co-founders: Thiel, Karp and Stephen Cohen. The collective class F shares will hold up to 49.99% of votes, while other shares owned by the trio will allow them to effectively control the company.

A direct listing allows a company’s shares to be sold on the open market, but does not involve the sale of fresh shares like an IPO, and has been used by well-funded mature startups including Spotify Technology SA
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-0.16%

and Slack Technologies Inc.
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+0.99%

. Palantir’s class A shares will eventually trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PLTR. Palantir listed a dozen banks that are acting as financial advisers on the deal, with Morgan Stanley as the main consultant with the designated market maker, which will determine the opening price of the shares.

Palantir launched its first software platform, Gotham, in 2008, after receiving funding from the Central Intelligence Agency’s In-Q-Tel funding arm.

“Defense agencies in the United States then began using Gotham to investigate potential threats and to help protect soldiers from improvised explosive devices,” Palantir disclosed in its filing. “Today, the platform is widely used by government agencies in the United States and its allies.”

Opinion: A tale of two $2 billion Chinese IPOs headed in very different directions

In 2016, Palantir launched a second platform, Foundry, that it has sold to commercial entities; Airbus SE
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-0.74%

EADSY,
+0.42%

was used as an example of a private-sector customer in the filing. The company said that it had only 125 customers as of the first half of this year, with a little more than half — 53% — coming from the private sector and the rest from government. Palantir collected an average of $5.6 million per customer in 2019, and its largest customers have a much larger average.

“Our top 20 customers, based on our revenue in 2019, generated $495.2 million in revenue, or 67% of our total revenue in that period. From those top 20 customers, we generated an average revenue per customer of $24.8 million during 2019,” Palantir disclosed in its filing. “Our average revenue per customer for our top 20 customers grew 36% to $15.0 million per customer in H1 2020 from $11.0 million per customer in H1 2019.”

Palantir said that it had contracts with government entities for an additional $1.2 billion in business on its books, and an additional $2.6 billion in “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contracts that are not counted because the funding has not yet been determined.

“Our partnerships with government agencies in the United States and abroad have had and will continue to have a significant impact on our business,” the company stated.

The company said that its business has not been materially impacted adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it may help Palantir’s business.

See also: A ‘powerful force’ will determine what happens next in the stock market, Wharton professor predicts

“The pandemic has made clear to many customers that accommodating the extended timelines ordinarily required to realize results from implementing new software solutions is not an option during a crisis,” the company disclosed. “As a result, customers are increasingly adopting our software, which can be ready in days, over internal software development efforts, which may take months or years.”

Palantir revealed in its SEC filing that revenue grew to $742.6 million in 2019 from $595.4 million in 2018, while losses stayed even at more than half a billion dollars a year — $579.6 million in 2019 and $580 million in 2018. In the first six months of this year, Palantir recorded a loss of $164.7 million on revenue of $481.2 million, after recording a loss of $280.5 million on sales of $322.7 million in the same period of 2019.

Palantir joins a parade of software companies filing this week to enter the public markets. At least five software companies filed with the SEC on Monday, including Asana Inc., which was co-founded by a Facebook co-founder and will also undergo a direct listing. Snowflake Inc., Unity Software Inc., Sumo Logic and Jfrog Ltd. also filed for IPOs on Monday.



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‘Fortnite’s’ impact could be Epic on antitrust investigations of Big Tech


As lawmakers and privacy advocates continue to methodically press for antitrust overhaul of four of tech’s biggest companies, some big names in videogaming could speed up things.

That is one of the initial conclusions of legal experts and developers following Epic Games Inc.’s lawsuits against Apple Inc.
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and Alphabet Inc.’s
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Google for booting Epic’s hit videogame “Fortnite” out of their app stores Thursday. “Fortnite’s” ouster came after Epic publicly announced an offer for players to receive a discount on in-game purchases if they paid Epic directly.

(Late Monday, Epic sought a temporary restraining order in federal court in California to block Apple from removing “Fortnite” from the App Store. Epic also asked the court to stop the iPhone maker from terminating its developer account on Aug. 28.)

Epic’s size and market influence just might be the impetus to ramp up antitrust investigation, said Ram Mohan, chief operating officer of domain-name registrar Afilias Inc.

“Clearly, for the first time, there is a company that has the ability to challenge the rules that Apple and Google have created,” Mohan told MarketWatch. “Smaller companies can’t do that. Ironically, it takes big tech to take on Big Tech.”

Underscoring Epic’s standing, Spotify Technology Inc.
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and Match Group Inc.
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quickly offered statements of support, and Facebook Inc.
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later claimed Apple refused to wave its 30% fee on Facebook’s new paid online events feature.
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Read more: ‘Fortnite’ maker accuses Apple, Google of illegal monopolistic practices in tech battle royale

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Eventbrite Inc.
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, too, could join the chorus of dissent. The company said it has been notified it has until December to start following Apple’s rules on in-app purchases because of events going online.

Privately held Epic could prove to be Apple’s most dangerous antagonist, both financially and symbolically. “Fortnite” hauled in $1 billion in player spending on Apple iOS devices through mid-May, based on estimates from mobile-app research company Sensor Tower, suggesting Apple received hundreds of millions of dollars from the hit videogame.

In the larger picture, Epic represents a videogame industry that may prove a tipping point for anti-competitive actions by federal lawmakers, who grilled the chief executives of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.com Inc.
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in a landmark antitrust hearing last month, as well as separate investigations by the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. Microsoft Corp.
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has excoriated Apple for its stance on cloud gaming apps, which the iPhone maker does not allow on the App Store for apparent violations of its guidelines.

When asked for comment on Epic’s legal actions, Apple late Monday emailed the following statement: “The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers. Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world. We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store. The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.”

Apple’s unbending stance on videogaming — and pushback from developers, both small and large — is the type of scenario that feeds into antitrust pressure on Apple and Google to change their platform operations, said Rebecca Allensworth, a law professor at Vanderbilt University.

“Antitrust has always had a dual system of enforcement: Private like the Epic suits, and public such as FTC and DoJ investigations,” Allensworth told MarketWatch. “Companies feel maximal pressure when under both kinds of scrutiny.”

Antitrust attorney Jonathan Rubin adds, “What the Epic suit suggests is that even private marketplaces organized within the confines of a private company should be subject to antitrust oversight.”

So far, only a small developer, Blix Inc., has taken on Apple — both in court, and in cooperating with the office of Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Cicilline led an hours-long inquisition of the four CEOs on July 29.

Read more: Antitrust questions bruise but don’t break Big Tech CEOs in historic hearing

“What Epic is doing is very powerful. I think it’s a big step forward, and pushes momentum for stronger antitrust scrutiny,” Blix co-CEO Ben Volach told MarketWatch. “We’ve heard this from Spotify [it filed a complaint with the European Commission last year against Apple, charging the iPhone maker with anti-competitive behavior related in part to the fees it charges on purchases made through the App Store], but it took a bold move in the U.S. Epic’s action talks to a broader monopoly by Apple.”

Blix, which claims it has data showing Apple suppressed App Store rankings of products that compete with Apple’s own apps, sued Apple last October, alleging patent infringement and antitrust violations.

Blix also believes Apple and Google are working in concert on pricing, which led Google to abruptly kick its BlueMail email app off its Play Store — 36 hours after Blix developers revealed they cooperated with House lawmakers. “Google retaliated against us for outspokenness on antitrust issues,” Volach said.

A Google spokesperson said in a written statement that the BlueMail app had been reinstated to the store. Volach countered that unfavorable media coverage forced Google’s hand after only 15 hours.

Yet it might take the actions of much larger companies like Epic to move the needle on antitrust actions in a political setting that is growing increasingly hostile to Big Tech.

For years, developers have groused about Apple’s 30% tax as exorbitantly high. But many felt they had no choice: There are some 1.5 billion Apple gadgets in use worldwide, and users of Apple devices collectively spend nearly twice as much on apps as do owners of Android gadgets.

“It shows the power of Apple and Google, when you have a company as big as Spotify teaming up with Epic. When titans are taking on titans, you know there is a problem, and that gets people’s attention,” Jamie Court, president of nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, told MarketWatch.



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These are the most widely shared coronavirus myths shared in 25 languages across 87 countries


Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, some people are on edge, while others are just plain confused. Adding to the increasingly chaotic nature of the information superhighway in 2020, others are sharing misleading information and outright falsehoods across the internet and on television.

Some outlandish rumors persist. To adherents of such beliefs, the coronavirus is a dastardly bioweapon designed to wreak economic armageddon on the West; a left-wing conspiracy to damage the re-election prospects of President Donald Trump; a virus that leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

A new study in the latest edition of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene identified 2,311 reports of rumors, stigma and conspiracy theories in 25 languages from 87 countries related to COVID-19 across social media and, yes, online news media sites.


Do you have to wear a mask outdoors? Only medical-grade N95 surgical masks with goggles work, right, so why bother wearing a homemade face covering?

Paranoia politicizes a public-health emergency and distracts from potentially life-saving measures. “Misinformation fueled by rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories can have potentially serious implications on the individual and community if prioritized over evidence-based guidelines,” the study said.

The most oft-shared claims were related to the seriousness of the illness, transmission and mortality rate (24%); the effectiveness of control measures (21%); treatments and cures touted online (19%); and the origins of pandemic (15%).

Of the 2,276 reports for which text ratings were available, 1,856 claims were false (82%). “Health agencies must track misinformation associated with the COVID-19 in real time, and engage local communities and government stakeholders to debunk misinformation,” the report found.

There are, of course, many nuances and truths mixed in with some rumors. Among the evidence-supported statements by members of the scientific community: Like the influenza vaccines, any future vaccine will likely only last a number of years, and not give everyone 100% immunity.

Do you have to wear a mask outdoors? Only medical-grade N95 surgical masks with goggles can help guarantee protection against the virus, so why bother wearing a homemade face covering? Health professionals and studies support the idea that face coverings can help stop the spread.


Exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) doesn’t prevent the COVID-19 virus or cure the disease, the Mayo Clinic says.

They have helped reduce contagion by reducing droplets being sprayed into the air during flu season, and scientists say they can similarly help now, particularly with the high number of asymptomatic carriers. Maskless joggers can leave a droplet slipstream of 30 feet outdoors.

What’s more, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, earlier this month recommended wearing goggles as a “complete” method to help prevent contracting the coronavirus.

COVID-19 only affects older people, right? And it’s a few bad days or weeks in bed, and you’re back to normal? Incorrect, and no: Lung scarring and heart and kidney damage may result from COVID-19, and some younger COVID-19 patients who were otherwise healthy are suffering blood clots and strokes.

A study of 60 COVID-19 patients published in the Lancet this month found that 55% of them were still displaying neurological symptoms during follow-up visits three months later, including confusion and difficulty concentrating, as well as headaches, loss of taste and/or smell, mood changes and insomnia.

Won’t the summer sun and heat help? “Exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) doesn’t prevent the COVID-19 virus or cure COVID-19,” according to a myth-busting guide from the Mayo Clinic.

“You can get the COVID-19 virus in sunny, hot and humid weather. Taking a hot bath also can’t prevent you from catching the COVID-19 virus,” the article warns. “Your normal body temperature remains the same, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.”

Related:COVID-19 infections just hit 20 million worldwide — why the actual number of cases is likely much higher

Here are some other popular misconceptions derailed by the Mayo Clinic: Cold weather and snow do not kill COVID-19. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Drinking alcohol doesn’t protect you from the virus. And spraying it on your body doesn’t help if you are infected.

The supplement colloidal silver, which has been marketed as a treatment, is not considered safe or effective for treating any disease. “There’s no evidence that eating garlic protects against infection with the COVID-19 virus,” the Mayo Clinic added. (It doesn’t help with vampires either, because they don’t exist.)

Another outlandish theory: “Avoiding exposure to or use of 5G networks doesn’t prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. Viruses can’t travel on radio waves and mobile networks. The COVID-19 virus is spreading in many countries that lack 5G mobile networks,” the organization said.


Cold weather and snow does not kill COVID-19. Radio waves and mobile networks don’t cure or spread the virus. Antibiotics only kill bacteria.

Ultraviolet light and disinfectants can be used on surfaces, it added. But don’t use a UV lamp to sterilize your hands or other areas of your body. UV radiation can lead to skin irritation and bleach can burn you.

Who tends to believe falsehoods? People who get their news from social-media platforms like Facebook
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and Twitter
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are more likely to have misperceptions about COVID-19, according to a recent study led by researchers at McGill University in Montreal.

“Those that consume more traditional news media have fewer misperceptions and are more likely to follow public health recommendations like social distancing,” concluded the paper, which was published in the latest issue of the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.

“In the context of a crisis like COVID-19, however, there is good reason to be concerned about the role that the consumption of social media is playing in boosting misperceptions,” says co-author Aengus Bridgman, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at McGill University.

Social-media platforms have been criticized for their failures to stop the spread of misinformation, especially concerning elections and the coronavirus pandemic, despite a number of new policies enacted since Russia used the platforms to interfere in the 2016 elections.

In May, Twitter marked tweets by President Donald Trump with a fact-check warning label for the first time, after the president falsely claimed mail-in ballots are “substantially fraudulent.” (He has continued to make such claims on social media and elsewhere.)


Paranoia politicizes a public-health emergency and distracts from potentially life-saving measures.

Earlier this month, social-media sites attempted to quash a video pushing misleading information about hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment — which led to Twitter’s partially suspending Donald Trump Jr.’s account.

The video featured doctors calling hydroxychloroquine — a drug used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis for decades — “a cure for COVID,” despite a growing body of scientific evidence indicating it is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus.

In April, the president floated the idea of using ultraviolet light inside the body or a disinfectant by “injection” as a treatment for coronavirus: “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute.” (The next day, Trump claimed he was not being serious.)

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, had infected over 20 million people globally and 5.1 million in the U.S. as of Tuesday. It had killed more than 738,668 people worldwide and at least 164,480 in the U.S. States and the South and West have seen a surge in cases.

The stock market has been on a wild ride in recent months. The Dow Jones Industrial Index
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-0.37%
,
the S&P 500
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and Nasdaq Composite Index
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-1.69%

closed lower on Tuesday as investors await round two of a fiscal stimulus.




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