HomeIndian AmericanAnalysis: Harris is a frequent target of misinformation

Analysis: Harris is a frequent target of misinformation

An analysis by a media intelligence company indicates Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is a more frequent target of misinformation than Vice President Mike Pence, The Hill reports.

Zignal Labs found that Harris was targeted as often as four times as Pence as well as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who campaigned for vice president in 2016 alongside then-presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

The analysis also stated online conversations about the vice presidential campaigns have increased since the last election, according to The Hill. Between July 1 and Oct. 9, Zignal Labs found 280,000 references to “birtherism” and “not eligible” connected to Harris.

Furthermore, more than 4% of Twitter conversations about Harris was negative or contained misinformation.

Harris is also the subject of much of the misinformation on Instagram, Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation analyst at nonpartisan think thank Wilson Center told The New York Times.

“I hope in the future the social media platforms recognize that elections are an inflection point in disinformation campaigns, not an end point,” Jankowicz told The New York Times.

The Zignal Labs analysis as well as other reports of online misinformation comes mere days away from the general election.

NPR reports that Black and Latinx voters were “flooded” with online memes, posts and messages discouraging them from voting, reasoning that their vote does not matter because “Democrats and Republicans are the same.”

In addition, Spanish-language misinformation about Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Harris’ stance on abortion recently circulated on Facebook and Whatsapp, according to NBC News.

A meme that garnered 5,900 interactions on Facebook pages and groups translates to: “These candidates support an abortion 5 minutes before birth and if it survives the abortion, they approve of killing the baby.”

While the origins of the meme is not clear, an expert who spoke with NBC News said it is part of a right-wing campaign associated with the Catholic Church aimed at pulling Latinx and Hispanic voters to the Republican party.

Social media platforms, for their part, are taking measures to curve the circulation of misinformation ahead of the election. Instagram announced Thursday it will remove the “recent” tab, and only company-approved “top” hashtagged posts would be available to view.

Buzzfeed reported Facebook “quietly” suspended recommendations for political groups ahead of the election.

“This is a measure we put in place in the lead-up to Election Day,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois, told Buzzfeed. “We will assess when to lift them afterwards, but they are temporary.”

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