Rebroadcast: The Most Intense Online Disinformation Event in American History

If you’ve been watching the hearings convened by the House select committee on Jan. 6, you’ve seen a great deal about how the Trump campaign generated and spread falsehoods about supposed election fraud in 2020. As the committee has argued, those falsehoods were crucial in generating the political energy that culminated in the explosion of the January 6 insurrection. 

What shape did those lies take, and how did social media platforms attempt to deal with them at the time? Today, we’re bringing you an episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem. In fact, we’re rebroadcasting an episode we recorded in November 2020 about disinformation and the 2020 election. In late November 2020, after Joe Biden cemented his victory as the next president but while the Trump campaign was still pushing its claims of election fraud online and in court, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory. Their conversation then was a great overview of the state of election security and the difficulty of countering false claims around the integrity of the vote. It’s worth a listen today as the Jan. 6 committee reminds us what the political and media environment was like in the aftermath of the election and how the Trump campaign committed to election lies that still echo all too loudly. And though it’s a year and a half later, the problems we’re discussing here certainly haven’t gone away.

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