Twitter Is a Cauldron of Misinformation About the Arizona 2020 Vote Audit

slate.com
4 min read
fairly difficult
One solution: Platforms could work with federal government partners to develop a directory of verified election officials.
This article is part of the Free Speech Project, a collaboration between Future Tense and the Tech, Law, & Security Program at American University Washington College of Law that examines the ways technology is influencing how we think about speech.

Six months after the 2020 election, the Arizona state Senate is conducting what it calls an "audit" of Maricopa County's November results. The process has been roundly and rightly criticized as chaotic and partisan by election security and administration professionals—including members of the county's own Board of Elections, which is not participating. Run by a company whose founder has spread Stop the Steal conspiracy theories, the audit has become an opportunity for people to peddle election-related disinformation. And these false narratives are too much for election officials in Arizona—or around the country—to combat on their own.

Social media platforms must take a more active role in preventing false information around elections from spreading and work with election officials to amplify accurate content.

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The purpose of the sham in Maricopa County is to sow continued doubt in the legitimacy of President Biden's election. Former President Trump claims the audit will somehow change results in Arizona, with other swing states to follow. It's wholly lacking in the kinds of protocols and procedures you'd expect from a process intended to ensure rigor and accuracy—ballots have been left unattended, and a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives who lost in November is one of the auditors. The conspiracy theories being investigated include ludicrous claims, one of which exploits anti-Asian racism: To inspect the ballots in an effort to legitimize the myth that they were fakes sent from China, workers used an ultraviolet light that could damage ballots, apparently to check them for bamboo fibers.

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In fact, the official Twitter account for the audit is…
Gowri Ramachandran
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