Misinformation spreading at slower rates after Trump social media blackout

Trump and his supporters have been locked out of accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Spotify, Shopify and more

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A new study has found that misinformation regarding election fraud has dropped 73 percent after several social media sites, including Twitter, permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account.

The research firm Zignal Labs made this determination by reviewing the number of mentions across social media platforms discussing election fraud after Trump lost his primary means of spreading baseless theories about his defeat to Joe Biden. The previous 2.5 million mentions dropped to nearly 688,000 in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter, according to The Washington Post.

Months before the Nov. 3 election and afterward, Trump and his allies pushed election disinformation, but Zignal found it dropped swiftly on Twitter and other platforms in the days following the Twitter ban that began on Jan. 8.

Read More: Obama says he’s ‘troubled’ by GOP officials backing Trump in fake voter fraud claims

Researchers have found that Trump tweets were retweeted by supporters at a remarkable rate, giving him a virtually unmatched ability to shape conversation online.

Trump and his supporters have been locked out of accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Spotify, Shopify and other platforms. When Parler, a social media app popular with far-right extremists went offline after Amazon Web Services withdrew its support, the president was left without a means to spread election fraud misinformation.

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President Donald Trump greets the crowd at the Wednesday’s “Stop The Steal” Rally in Washington, D.C., where his supporters gathered to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory before they stormed the Capitol Building. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

For years, Twitter has been a powerful megaphone for Trump, and it’s ban of the president has played a critical role in limiting his ability to make misleading claims about the Nov. 3 election. After he was banished from the site, Twitter also shut down over 70,000 accounts affiliated with baseless QAnon ideology, per WaPo.

Read More: Parler app removed from Google, Apple, Amazon stores

“Together, these actions will likely significantly reduce the amount of online misinformation in the near term,” said Kate Starbird, disinformation researcher at the University of Washington.

“What happens in the long term is still up in the air,” Starbird added.

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