“It’s a long-term conspiratorial explanation, not a single viral misinformation incident,” conclude the EIP researchers. “This makes it all the more difficult for platforms to respond: any one post or piece of content may receive negligible engagement, however, the accumulation of these references is what matters.”
The most crucial moment in the life of this conspiracy comes on Election Day in two weeks. If there is uncertainty, what immediately follows will show the immediate impact of undermining confidence in the election. Among the possible scenarios is that one candidate prematurely declares victory–which would undermine mail-in ballots that are counted more slowly because of security checks. The reaction of both traditional media and social media will be key here, so that voters understand that certified results are not coming on election day–a timeline that election officials say is just fine.
In the event of such an announcement, Facebook says it would apply a warning label to the candidate’s post on its site. Twitter’s policy gives room for either a label or outright removal of such a tweet. YouTube has no stated policy here.
From a voters’ perspective, the best strategy is to follow verified state and local election officials on social media and on their websites. You can use canivote.org, which includes a roster of election officials around the country.
This is an excerpt from The Outcome, our daily email on election integrity and security. Click here to get regular updates straight to your inbox.