Trailer: (Part 1 – Disinformation in the Election)
Trailer: (Part 2 – Conspiracy theories in US politics)
Full show: (the story starts at 12 mins 34 seconds)
“The Trump administration has shown to continually try to downplay the severity of the virus and the pandemic in the United States, and that has extended to other things such as promoting drugs as cures and therapies even though they haven’t been well-studied.” – Jessica McDonald, Science writer, Factcheck.org
“I suppose what we’ve seen in this year is, although there are certainly evidence of foreign interference, we are actually seeing that, instead of the foreign interference, U.S. domestic disinformation and conspiracy theories seemed to be having the greatest effect.” – Aoife Gallagher, Disinformation analyst, Institute for Strategic Dialogue
“The bigger problem that has erupted is that the President of the United States seems to like QAnon and he has multiple times retweeted QAnon accounts and he has had QAnon supporters to the White House and he speaks kindly to the QAnon supporters when he’s asked about it.” – Joseph Uscinski, Associate Professor in Political Science, University of Miami, US
On October 22, Dutch media reported that Donald Trump’s Twitter account was allegedly hacked last week. A Dutch researcher, Victor Gevers says he correctly guessed the president’s password: “maga2020!”. Twitter says it has “seen no evidence to corroborate this claim.” The White House and the Trump campaign did not immediately comment. This is allegedly the second time Gevers has gained access to Trump’s Twitter account. The first time was in 2016.
Trump is a prolific Twitter user. He uses the social media platform to criticise his opponents and promote his policies. Some fact-checkers and social media analysts have criticised him as a “superspreader” of misinformation.
In May, Donald Trump Jr., son of US President Donald Trump, posted on his Instagram, playing on unfounded claims of paedophilia made against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The post itself earned at least 181K likes. Trump Jr. later claimed it was a joke. But this claim is actually one of many conspiracy theories pushed by an internet conspiracy group called QAnon.
In this week’s show, we look at how misinformation and disinformation on social media are influencing the US elections, including the rise of QAnon, its relationship with Trump, and more importantly, the responses taken by technology giants on tackling disinformation.
Archive link at RTHK (2020-10-23):