Monitoring Viral Misinformation

Rudolph W. Giuliani labored for weeks after the November election in an try to subvert its consequence.Credit score…Erin Schaff/The New York Instances

Dominion Voting Techniques, one of many largest voting machine distributors in america, filed a defamation lawsuit towards Rudolph W. Giuliani on Monday, accusing him of spreading a litany of falsehoods concerning the firm in his efforts on behalf of former President Donald J. Trump to subvert the election.

The lawsuit chronicles greater than 50 inaccurate statements made by Mr. Giuliani within the weeks after the election, and points a point-by-point rebuttal of every falsehood. Listed here are 4 of the commonest false statements Mr. Giuliani made about Dominion Voting Techniques.

1. The Firm’s Origin

Mr. Giuliani usually said, falsely, that Dominion “actually is a Venezuelan firm” and that it “relies upon utterly on the software program of Smartmatic,” an organization “developed in about 2004, 2005 to assist Chavez steal elections.”

As Dominion writes in its lawsuit: “Dominion was not based in Venezuela to repair elections for Hugo Chávez. It was based in 2002 in John Poulos’s basement in Toronto to assist blind folks vote on paper ballots.” The swimsuit later provides that the headquarters for the corporate’s United States subsidiary are in Denver.

2. Programming Votes

One other often-repeated declare was that Dominion had programmed its machines to flip votes: “In different phrases if you pressed down Biden, you bought Trump, and if you pressed down Trump you bought Biden.”

This has been proved false by quite a few authorities and legislation enforcement officers, together with former Legal professional Common William P. Barr, who mentioned in December: “There’s been one assertion that may be systemic fraud, and that may be the declare that machines had been programmed primarily to skew the election outcomes. And the D.H.S. and D.O.J. have regarded into that, and to date, we haven’t seen something to substantiate that.”

Equally, a joint assertion by quite a few authorities and elections officers and businesses, together with the Nationwide Affiliation of State Election Administrators, the Nationwide Affiliation of Secretaries of State, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company, said that there was “no proof that any voting system deleted or misplaced votes, modified votes, or was in any method compromised.”

The hand recount in Georgia additionally affirmed that the machine recounts had been correct in that state.

3. Antrim County, Mich.

Mr. Giuliani zeroed in on Antrim County, Mich., falsely claiming {that a} “Dominion machine flipped 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden” there, and that machines within the county had been “62 p.c inaccurate,” had a “68 p.c error charge” and had an “81.9 p.c rejection charge.”

Mr. Giuliani’s deal with Antrim County stems from human errors made by the county clerk on election evening. In keeping with the lawsuit, the clerk “mistakenly didn’t replace all the voting machines’ tabulator reminiscence playing cards.” However the swimsuit says that “her errors had been promptly caught as a part of the traditional canvass course of earlier than the election end result was made official.” The Michigan secretary of state’s workplace additionally performed a hand audit of all presidential votes in Antrim County that discovered the machines had been correct.

4. A Problematic Skilled

Mr. Giuliani claimed that his accusations, significantly in Antrim County, had been backed up by specialists. However he largely relied on one man, Russell Ramsland Jr., a former Republican congressional candidate from Texas, who, in response to the lawsuit filed by Dominion, had additionally publicly favored false conspiracy theories.

Dominion spent greater than 5 pages on Mr. Ramsland’s lack of credentials to correctly study gear, noting that he had a “basic misunderstanding of election software program.” The swimsuit additionally quotes the previous performing director of the U.S. Election Help Fee Voting System Testing and Certification program, saying the report produced by Mr. Ramsland “confirmed a ‘grave misunderstanding’ of Antrim County’s voting system and ‘a lack of understanding of election know-how and course of.’”

Jan. 25, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET

Jan. 25, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET

By Kate Conger

False claims concerning the coronavirus and the election stay widespread on Twitter.Credit score…Thomas White/Reuters

Twitter mentioned on Monday it could permit some customers to fact-check deceptive tweets, the newest effort by the corporate to fight misinformation.

Customers who be part of this system, referred to as Birdwatch, can add notes to rebut false or deceptive posts and charge the reliability of the fact-checking annotations made by different customers. Customers in america who confirm their electronic mail addresses and telephone numbers with Twitter, and haven’t violated Twitter’s guidelines in latest months, can apply to hitch Birdwatch.

Twitter will begin Birdwatch as a small pilot program with 1,000 customers, and the fact-checking they produce is not going to be seen on Twitter however will seem on a separate website. If the experiment is profitable, Twitter plans to increase this system to greater than 100,000 folks within the coming months and can make their contributions seen to all customers.

Twitter continues to grapple with misinformation on the platform. Within the months earlier than the U.S. presidential election, Twitter added fact-check labels written by its personal staff to tweets from outstanding accounts, briefly disabled its suggestion algorithm, and added extra context to trending subjects. Nonetheless, false claims concerning the coronavirus and elections have proliferated on Twitter regardless of the corporate’s efforts to take away them. However Twitter has additionally confronted backlash from some customers who’ve argued that the corporate removes an excessive amount of info.

Giving some management over moderation on to customers may assist restore belief and permit the corporate to maneuver extra rapidly to handle false claims, Twitter mentioned.

“We apply labels and add context to tweets, however we don’t wish to restrict efforts to circumstances the place one thing breaks our guidelines or receives widespread public consideration,” Keith Coleman, a vice chairman of product at Twitter, wrote in a weblog submit asserting this system. “We additionally wish to broaden the vary of voices which might be a part of tackling this drawback, and we consider a community-driven method may also help.”

Jan. 20, 2021, 12:20 p.m. ET

Jan. 20, 2021, 12:20 p.m. ET

By Kevin Roose

A supporter of President Donald Trump flies an American flag with a QAnon image exterior the Capitol on Jan. 6.Credit score…Win Mcnamee/Getty Pictures

Followers of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy idea, have spent weeks anticipating that Wednesday could be the “Nice Awakening” — a day, lengthy foretold in QAnon prophecy, when high Democrats could be arrested for operating a worldwide intercourse trafficking ring and President Trump would seize a second time period in workplace.

However as President Biden took workplace and Mr. Trump landed in Florida, with no mass arrests in sight, some believers struggled to harmonize the falsehoods with the inauguration on their TVs.

Some QAnon believers tried to rejigger their theories to accommodate a switch of energy to Mr. Biden. A number of giant QAnon teams mentioned on Wednesday the likelihood that that they had been improper about Mr. Biden, and that the incoming president was really a part of Mr. Trump’s effort to take down the worldwide cabal.

“The extra I give it some thought, I do suppose it’s very potential that Biden would be the one who pulls the set off,” one account wrote in a QAnon channel on the messaging app Telegram.

Others expressed anger with QAnon influencers who had advised believers to anticipate a dramatic end result on Inauguration Day.

“Numerous YouTube journalists have simply misplaced one hell of plenty of credibility,” wrote a commenter in a single QAnon chat room.

Nonetheless others tried to shift the aim posts, and easily advised their fellow “anons” to hold on and watch for future, unspecified developments.

“Don’t fear about what occurs at 12 p.m.,” wrote one QAnon influencer. “Watch what occurs after that.”

And a few appeared to appreciate that they’d been duped.

“It’s over,” one QAnon chat room participant wrote, simply after Mr. Biden’s swearing-in.

“Get up,” one other wrote. “We’ve been had.”

Followers hoping for steerage from “Q,” the pseudonymous message board consumer whose posts energy the motion, had been sure to be dissatisfied. The account has been silent for weeks, and had not posted Wednesday.

Ron Watkins, a significant QAnon booster whom some have suspected of being “Q” himself, posted a observe of resignation on his Telegram channel on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve a brand new president sworn in and it’s our duty as residents to respect the Structure,” he wrote. “As we enter into the following administration please bear in mind all the chums and comfortable recollections we made collectively over the previous few years.”

Jan. 13, 2021, 4:52 p.m. ET

Jan. 13, 2021, 4:52 p.m. ET

By Davey Alba

Mikki Willis, a video producer who made a well-liked video full of falsehoods concerning the coronavirus, joined the siege of the Capitol.Credit score…Timothy Wolfer and Edythe McNamee

A few of the individuals who stormed the Capitol final week haven’t been solely centered on the election. They’ve additionally been outstanding purveyors of coronavirus falsehoods.

There was Mikki Willis, a video producer who helped make “Plandemic,” a 26-minute slickly produced narration that was seen by hundreds of thousands in Could that falsely claimed a shadowy cabal of Democratic elites was utilizing the virus and a possible vaccine to revenue and acquire energy.

Then there was Simone Gold, who was a part of a bunch of medical doctors who had been in a viral video on the steps of the Supreme Courtroom in July sharing a number of deceptive claims concerning the coronavirus.

Each appeared in movies of the Capitol siege.

Their presence demonstrates how the disinformation networks that drove the unfold of Covid-19 falsehoods are built-in with the networks spreading voter fraud disinformation, mentioned Kate Starbird, a College of Washington affiliate professor learning on-line disinformation.

A number of outstanding anti-vaccination activist teams, together with the Pure Information web site in addition to a number of giant teams and influencers on Fb and Instagram with a whole lot of hundreds of followers, reveled within the occasions on the Capitol and posted prolifically about it. “Seize some and benefit from the present!” mentioned one Instagram submit with photos of the Capitol being raided. The submit collected 2,700 likes.

Folks related to these networks, Ms. Starbird mentioned, “are saturated in disinformation and experiencing a really totally different, grievance-based actuality than the remainder of us.”

Mr. Willis entered the Capitol constructing, however mentioned in a Fb submit that he didn’t go in far and left rapidly. In a speech proper after the siege, he was captured in a video chatting with a crowd of individuals and referring to those that had pushed into the Capitol as “compatriots.” He additionally railed towards the left and the “diabolical” and “corrupt tyrants” of the mainstream media. “That is psychological warfare,” Mr. Willis mentioned within the video. “That is what warfare seems like right this moment.”

In an electronic mail, Mr. Willis mentioned he had made plans to attend the rally on the Capitol as a result of he was “deeply involved concerning the lack of our civil liberties.” He added that he discovered too late that the rally he was meant to attend, referred to as Well being Freedom DC, included the “Make America Nice Once more” tagline related to President Trump. Mr. Willis mentioned he didn’t assist any political social gathering and his presence in movies had been “terribly distorted.”

In his electronic mail, Mr. Willis mentioned, “I’ve solely seen the violence on TV and social media.”

Ms. Gold, the physician who shared deceptive details about the coronavirus, appeared in a video on the tiled Rotunda flooring on the Capitol, reciting a speech from a sheaf of papers protesting a “large medical institution,” in response to The Washington Put up.

In a separate video that went viral after “Plandemic,” which collected tens of million views in July, Ms. Gold appeared with a bunch of medical doctors calling themselves America’s Frontline Docs, which she based. The group was sponsored by conservative activists referred to as the Tea Social gathering Patriots Motion and the video unfold the deceptive message that hydroxychloroquine was an efficient coronavirus remedy and that masks didn’t sluggish the unfold of the virus.

Ms. Gold later mentioned, “I do remorse being there.” She didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Fb mentioned on Thursday that it’s figuring out folks concerned in storming the Capitol final week and disabling their accounts.

Jan. 11, 2021, 4:13 p.m. ET

Jan. 11, 2021, 4:13 p.m. ET

By Linda Qiu

Ginni Thomas, the spouse of Supreme Courtroom Justice Clarence Thomas, watched Amy Coney Barrett take one in all two oaths in October earlier than she was seated on the Supreme Courtroom.Credit score…Patrick Semansky/Related Press

An unsubstantiated declare that Ginni Thomas, the spouse of Supreme Courtroom Justice Clarence Thomas and a outstanding conservative activist, “paid” for dozens of buses to ferry demonstrators to Washington have proliferated on-line after a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol final week.

Simply three tweets making the declare amassed greater than 420,000 retweets and shares. Ms. Thomas did endorse the protests in Fb posts on Wednesday (she seems to have since deleted her Fb web page) and has beforehand unfold conspiracy theories.

Ms. Thomas didn’t instantly reply to emails and a telephone name for remark, however there is no such thing as a proof that she funded transportation for the rioters.

The rumors might have originated from — and mischaracterized — a well-liked tweet from the author Anne Nelson declaring that Ms. Thomas is on the advisory board of Turning Level USA, a conservative scholar group.

The founding father of Turning Level USA, Charlie Kirk, mentioned in a since-deleted tweet that Turning Level’s political motion arm and an affiliated group, College students for Trump, had been sending greater than 80 “buses of patriots to D.C. to struggle for the president” on Jan. 6.

Whereas 80 buses was the quantity that Turning Level Motion had dedicated to funding, Mr. Kirk’s tweet was “finally inaccurate” because the teams ended up sending simply seven buses from New Jersey, North Carolina, and different places, in response to a spokesman for Turning Level.

Ms. Thomas didn’t fund any buses herself, the spokesman mentioned. Ms. Nelson, the writer of a ebook about an influential conservative group whose members embrace Ms. Thomas, additionally advised The New York Instances that the declare that Ms. Thomas “paid for buses” is “far past any of the documentation I’ve offered.”

An itinerary offered to The New York Instances by Turning Level famous that the buses would arrive on the South Garden of the White Home at 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, and that there was no precise time for the buses to depart as a result of the length of Mr. Trump’s speech was unclear. It didn’t present any directions about becoming a member of the march to the Capitol, and Brian Caviness, a scholar who traveled with the group, was quoted by The Fort Value Star-Telegram as saying that he didn’t achieve this as “that wasn’t a part of the plan.”

Jan. 8, 2021, 5:11 p.m. ET

Jan. 8, 2021, 5:11 p.m. ET

By Davey Alba

Supporters of President Trump breach the Capitol constructing on Wednesday.Credit score…Kenny Holston for The New York Instances

The Federal Bureau of Investigation mentioned on Friday that there was no proof that supporters of the antifa motion — a free collective of antifascist activists — had participated within the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol constructing on Wednesday.

Steven D’Antuono, an assistant director on the company, mentioned in a name with reporters that there was “no indication” of the group’s involvement among the many rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Since Wednesday, far-right activists and allies of the president have made the declare, usually whereas presenting simply disproved proof, that the rioters had been made up of antifa supporters, not backers of President Trump.

Amongst these pushing the falsehood had been Consultant Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, who mentioned whereas objecting to the electoral votes for Mr. Biden that folks within the mob had been “in actual fact members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” Ken Paxton, the lawyer basic of Texas, additionally mentioned antifa was concerned.

However even President Trump acknowledged that the individuals who supported him — not liberal activists — had invaded the Capitol. At one level on Wednesday he advised the mob, “we love you.”

An evaluation by the media insights firm Zignal Labs discovered that the unfounded rumor had been talked about 411,099 occasions throughout cable tv, social media, and in print and on-line information shops on Wednesday and Thursday. It was by far essentially the most extensively shared false or deceptive declare concerning the Capitol Hill mob, Zignal mentioned.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

Jan. 8, 2021, 2:03 p.m. ET

Jan. 8, 2021, 2:03 p.m. ET

By Davey Alba

Protesters encompass the U.S. Capitol a rally by the president on Wednesday.Credit score…Jason Andrew for The New York Instances

Misinformation and distortions of the reality have run rampant on social media within the days after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, disrupting lawmakers counting electoral votes to certify President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win.

A conservative outlet, The Washington Instances, claimed that facial recognition confirmed proof that the mob was made up of members of antifa, a free community of anti-fascist activists. The article has since been corrected. Different deceptive and false articles and posts claimed that the mob’s work was a “setup” or an “inside job.” And nonetheless others mentioned President Trump would quickly declassify info on how the election was stolen.

The media insights firm Zignal Labs compiled an inventory of the most well-liked false and deceptive narratives on social media about Wednesday’s occasions, counting their mentions on cable tv and social media and in print and on-line information shops on Wednesday and Thursday. Right here is the listing.

1. Rioters on the Capitol had been really antifa: 411,099 mentions

The false narrative that antifa supporters had been really behind the unrest on the Capitol peaked at 66,122 mentions on Wednesday night, in response to Zignal’s knowledge. Rep. Matt Gaetz even referenced the false Washington Instances article as proof that the mob was “in actual fact members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”

On Thursday, The Washington Instances revealed a brand new model of its article, reporting that it was really “neo-Nazis and different extremists” who had been recognized in images of the mob, after BuzzFeed Information challenged the outlet’s reporting.

2. The mob’s actions had been a “setup” and an “inside job”: 122,287 mentions

The concept the mob’s work was an inside job unfold extensively on social media, though there was no proof to assist the conspiracy idea. Folks mentioned the setup had been deliberate by the “deep state,” which is shorthand for the conspiracy idea about Democratic elites secretly exercising political management over the general public. The narrative peaked at 12,593 mentions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, in response to Zignal’s knowledge.

3. President Trump knew that the mob would occur, and other people ought to “belief the plan” and “maintain the road”: 83,990 mentions

The distorted concept that President Trump knew concerning the mob’s actions prematurely and that folks ought to “belief the plan” and “maintain the road” was widespread particularly amongst supporters of the conspiracy motion QAnon — which relies upon the false premise that the nation is run by a Democrat-led cabal of pedophiles whom President Trump is bringing down.

4. The mob on the Capitol was made up of individuals “posing as MAGA”: 64,258 mentions

A preferred false narrative that folks within the mob had been merely “posing as MAGA” peaked early on Wednesday, earlier than accusations particularly zeroed in on antifa.

5. President Trump will “declassify” info on how the election was stolen: 63,190 mentions

Some supporters of the president pushed the falsehood that he would quickly “declassify” info on how the election was stolen, regardless of overwhelming proof — and a bunch of courtroom rulings — that no widespread fraud was discovered within the election.

In some variations of the baseless rumor, folks said that this was the true motive that Mr. Trump’s opponents in Congress had been calling on the president to be stripped of his energy from workplace underneath the incapacity clause of the twenty fifth Modification.

Jan. 6, 2021, 9:00 p.m. ET

Jan. 6, 2021, 9:00 p.m. ET

By Davey Alba

An indication that was posted contained in the Capitol after a pro-Trump mob broke in on Wednesday.Credit score…Jon Cherry/Getty Pictures

In hundreds of posts on Twitter and Fb, members of the far proper pushed the unfounded declare that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, carrying Trump flags and halting Congress’s counting of electoral votes, was made up of liberal activists posing as a pro-Trump neighborhood to present it a nasty title.

A number of posts shared by hundreds of individuals held up pictures as proof that antifa supporters had been behind the unrest. However these photos didn’t, in actual fact, present antifa involvement. As an alternative, among the pictures, and the data contained in them, urged ties to far proper actions.

Even President Trump acknowledged that the individuals who supported him — not liberal activists — had invaded the Capitol. At one level on Wednesday he advised the mob that “we love you.”

Among the many hottest figures pushing the conspiracy idea had been the commentator Candace Owens, the Georgia lawyer L. Lin Wooden and Juanita Broaddrick, a nursing residence administrator who in 1999 publicly accused President Invoice Clinton of raping her in 1978. Different outstanding figures spreading the rumor included Ken Paxton, the lawyer basic of Texas; Sarah Palin, the previous vice-presidential candidate; and Consultant Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican.

Credit score…Twitter

The rumor that supporters of the antifa motion — a loosely organized collective of antifascist activists — had posed as members of the far proper on Wednesday was shared greater than 150,000 occasions on Twitter and hundreds of occasions extra on Fb, in response to an evaluation by The New York Instances. Altogether, the accounts pushing the rumor had tens of hundreds of thousands of followers.

“Indeniable photographic proof that antifa violently broke into Congress right this moment to inflict hurt & do harm,” Mr. Wooden posted on Twitter. “NOT @realDonaldTrump supporters.”

The “photographic proof” that Mr. Wooden pointed to in his submit included a hyperlink to phillyantifa.org, the place the photograph of a bearded man concerned within the mob was hosted. However that exact web page uncovered images of identified people within the neo-Nazi motion.

One other common submit, shared no less than 39,000 occasions on Twitter, claimed with out proof {that a} “former FBI agent on the bottom at U.S. Capitol simply texted me and confirmed no less than 1 ‘bus load’ of Antifa thugs infiltrated the peaceable Trump demonstrators.”

Credit score…Twitter

Unfaithful claims that “busloads” or “planeloads” of antifascist activists infiltrated protests are a standard chorus from the far proper.

In response to the baseless assertion, a Twitter consumer mentioned, “In fact they did.” The consumer hooked up images of a person carrying a horned helmet along with his face painted in an American flag design as an obvious instance of an antifa supporter.

The person was not an antifa supporter. As an alternative, he’s a longtime QAnon supporter who has been a fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies in latest months, in response to The Arizona Republic.

Ben Decker and Jacob Silver contributed analysis.

Jan. 4, 2021, 10:33 p.m. ET

Jan. 4, 2021, 10:33 p.m. ET

By Maggie Astor

Gabriel Sterling, a high election official in Georgia, responded to President Trump’s false claims at a information convention in Atlanta on Monday.Credit score…Mike Segar/Reuters

In a searing information convention on Monday, Gabriel Sterling, a high election official in Georgia, systematically debunked President Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. Once more.

“The explanation I’m having to face right here right this moment is as a result of there are folks in positions of authority and respect who’ve mentioned their votes didn’t depend, and it’s not true,” mentioned Mr. Sterling, a Republican who final month condemned the president’s failure to denounce threats towards election officers, and who was tasked on Monday with responding to the information of a telephone name wherein Mr. Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “discover” sufficient votes to alter the result of the presidential race.

“It’s anti-disinformation Monday,” Mr. Sterling mentioned. “It’s whack-a-mole once more, it’s Groundhog Day once more, and I’m going to speak about issues that I’ve talked about repeatedly for 2 months. I’m going to do it once more one final time. I hope.”

Here’s a rundown of the false claims about Georgia’s vote-counting that Mr. Trump and his attorneys made on the decision and in different venues, and Mr. Sterling’s explanations of what really occurred.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That, amid the disruption attributable to a damaged water major at a vote-counting heart in Fulton County, election staff introduced in “suitcases or trunks” of ballots.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: Late within the night, after the water major break had been mounted, election staff ready to go residence for the evening and adopted customary procedures to retailer ballots securely: putting them in containers and affixing numbered seals. However when Mr. Raffensperger discovered that they had been closing up store, he ordered them to proceed counting by way of the evening — so the employees retrieved the containers and resumed counting ballots.

All of that is on video footage that the secretary of state’s workplace posted publicly.

“That is what’s actually irritating: The president’s authorized workforce had your complete tape,” Mr. Sterling mentioned. “They watched your complete tape. They deliberately misled the State Senate, the voters and the folks of america about this.”

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That staff scanned some batches of ballots a number of occasions.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: When a scanning machine encounters an issue, it stops, however just a few ballots get by way of whereas it’s stopping. When that occurs, staff take the ballots and scan them once more so that they’re counted correctly. That is customary process, and the ballots aren’t counted twice — and in the event that they had been, the hand recount Georgia performed would have proven it.

“That audit confirmed that there was no drawback with the machine scanning,” Mr. Sterling mentioned. “If any individual took a stack of ballots and scanned them a number of occasions, you’d have plenty of votes with no corresponding ballots.”

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That tens of hundreds of ineligible voters solid ballots.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: The precise variety of ballots solid by ineligible voters is minuscule, and nowhere close to sufficient to alter the result of the election.

Mr. Sterling additionally addressed extra particular claims about ineligible voters:

  • Mr. Trump mentioned that hundreds of individuals voted regardless of not being registered to vote. That is not possible, Mr. Sterling mentioned: “You’ll be able to’t do it. There can’t be a poll issued to you, there’s no approach to tie it again to you, there’s nowhere for them to have a reputation to correspond again to until they’re registered voters. In order that quantity is zero.”

  • Mr. Trump mentioned that hundreds of voters died earlier than the election. Mr. Sterling mentioned the secretary of state’s workplace had discovered solely two who may match that description.

  • Mr. Trump mentioned that a whole lot of individuals voted utilizing P.O. bins reasonably than a residential tackle. Mr. Sterling mentioned that the secretary of state’s workplace was nonetheless investigating, however that everybody it had examined to date had, in actual fact, used a correct residential tackle — only one for a multifamily residence or condo constructing.

  • Mr. Trump’s marketing campaign mentioned that many felons voted. In actuality, utilizing data from the state’s corrections and probation departments, the secretary of state’s workplace recognized solely 74 individuals who may match that class — and Mr. Sterling mentioned the ultimate quantity could be even decrease as soon as the workplace accomplished its investigation, as a result of in lots of circumstances, the individual may need had their voting rights reinstated after finishing a sentence or may merely have the identical title as a felon.

  • Mr. Trump’s marketing campaign mentioned that tens of hundreds of individuals youthful than 18 voted. “The precise quantity is zero,” Mr. Sterling mentioned, “and the rationale we all know that’s as a result of the dates are on the voter registration. There are 4 circumstances — 4 — the place folks requested their absentee poll earlier than they turned 18, however they turned 18 by Election Day. Meaning that may be a legally solid poll.”

  • Mr. Trump’s marketing campaign mentioned that a whole lot of voters solid ballots in two states. Mr. Sterling mentioned that officers had been nonetheless investigating, however that if any such circumstances had been confirmed, it could be “handfuls,” and nowhere close to sufficient to alter the result.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That machines flipped votes, counting Trump ballots as Biden ones.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: If this had occurred, Mr. Sterling mentioned, the hand recount would have proven it, and it didn’t present something of the kind.

Discussing allegations of hacking, he added that poll machines and scanners aren’t related to the web. “Neither one has modems,” Mr. Sterling mentioned. “It’s very exhausting to hack issues with out modems.”

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That election officers didn’t correctly confirm signatures for mail-in ballots.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: The secretary of state’s workplace introduced in signature specialists, who examined greater than 15,000 mail-in poll envelopes. They discovered potential issues with solely two, and upon investigation, each ballots turned out to be official.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That, in contrast with earlier election cycles, Georgia rejected a suspiciously low variety of mail-in ballots.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: The lower in rejections is attributable to a just lately handed legislation that offers Georgians an opportunity to appropriate issues, corresponding to a rejected signature, with their ballots. Each events had groups roaming the state and contacting voters whose ballots had been susceptible to rejection, however Mr. Sterling mentioned the Democrats had been merely extra ready for the duty.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That election officers shredded ballots.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: “There isn’t a shredding of ballots happening,” Mr. Sterling mentioned with clear annoyance. “That’s not actual. It’s not taking place.”

Staff did shred secrecy envelopes: the clean envelopes that defend the privateness of a voter’s absentee poll and go inside an outer envelope. It’s the outer envelope that voters need to signal, and election officers have saved these outer envelopes as required by legislation. The secrecy envelopes, nevertheless, “haven’t any evidentiary worth,” Mr. Sterling mentioned, as a result of by definition they haven’t any figuring out info on them.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That staff of Dominion Voting Techniques “moved the inside components” of voting machines “and changed them with different components.”

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: “Nobody is altering components or items out of Dominion voting machines. That’s not actual. I don’t even know what which means.”

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That officers improperly counted “pristine” ballots — which means ballots that weren’t folded, indicating that they hadn’t arrived in an envelope.

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: “Pristine” ballots aren’t uncommon, Mr. Sterling mentioned. As an example, many navy and abroad voters obtain digital ballots that they print out, full and mail again. However these printed ballots aren’t the appropriate dimension for scanners, so election staff have a regular course of for transferring the votes to scannable ballots. A poll that will get broken and might’t be scanned could also be transferred in the identical method.

TRUMP’S CLAIM: That Mr. Raffensperger is compromised as a result of he has a brother who works for a Chinese language know-how firm. (Mr. Trump was echoing a conspiracy idea about an unrelated man who occurs to be named Ron Raffensperger.)

STERLING’S EXPLANATION: Mr. Raffensperger doesn’t have a brother named Ron.

Jan. 3, 2021, 8:34 p.m. ET

Jan. 3, 2021, 8:34 p.m. ET

By Linda Qiu

Truth Examine

President Trump has made a litany of false claims about election ends in Georgia.Credit score…Doug Mills/The New York Instances

President Trump, in an hourlong phone name with Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, repeated numerous false and deceptive claims about election ends in the state which were circulating on social media. Right here’s a reality examine.

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“Then it was filled with votes. They weren’t in an official voter field, they had been in what suitcases or trunks, suitcases however they weren’t in voter bins. The minimal quantity it could possibly be as a result of we watched it and so they watched it licensed in sluggish movement immediate replay in the event you can consider it, however it had sluggish movement and it was magnified many occasions over, and the minimal it was 18,000 ballots, all for Biden.”

False. Mr. Trump was more than likely referring to debunked claims {that a} water leak at a vote counting location in Fulton County pressured an evacuation and made it potential for trunks stuffed with ballots to be rolled in. Election officers have mentioned and surveillance movies present that this didn’t occur.

A water leak brought about a delay for about two hours in vote counting on the State Farm Area, however no ballots or gear had been broken. Georgia’s chief election investigator, Frances Watson, testified {that a} “evaluation of your complete safety footage revealed that there have been no thriller ballots that had been introduced in from an unknown location and hidden underneath tables.”

All through the telephone name, Mr. Trump additionally repeatedly urged that an election employee seen within the surveillance movies “stuffed the bins” and “they thought she’d be in jail” — referring to a baseless conspiracy idea promoted on social media.

[Read more about the voting in Georgia so far.]

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“There have been no ballot watchers there. There have been no Democrats or Republicans. There was no safety there.”

That is deceptive. Election observers and journalists had been current at State Farm Area when the water leak occurred. They weren’t requested to depart, Ms. Watson mentioned, however merely “left on their very own” after they noticed one team of workers, who had accomplished their job, go away.

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“So lifeless folks voted. And I believe the quantity is shut to five,000 folks.”

False. The precise quantity was two, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, advised the president within the name.

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“You had out-of-state voters — they voted in Georgia however they had been from out of state — of 4,925.”

That is deceptive. Ryan Germany, the chief counsel for Mr. Raffensperger’s workplace, refuted this description within the name.

“Everybody we’ve been by way of are people who lived in Georgia, moved to a distinct state, however then moved again to Georgia legitimately,” he mentioned. “They moved again in years in the past. This was not like one thing simply earlier than the election. So there’s one thing about that knowledge that, it’s simply not correct.”

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“In Fulton County and different areas — and this will or might not be true, as a result of this simply got here up this morning — that they’re burning their ballots, that they’re shredding ballots, shredding ballots and eradicating gear. They’re altering the gear on the Dominion machines, and you already know that’s not authorized.”

False. Mr. Trump was probably referring to pictures of Fulton County ballots that circulated on social media and posted by a supporter, Patrick Byrne, the previous chief government of Overstock.

The images confirmed piles of ballots that had been visibly not crammed out and wrapped in plastic. Mr. Byrne characterised the ballots as “counterfeit” and mentioned they had been later shredded.

However these photos had been merely of emergency backup ballots, mentioned Gabriel Sterling, a Republican official who’s the voting system implementation supervisor in Georgia. State legislation requires counties to organize extra paper ballots in case voting machines can’t be used.

Dominion Voting Techniques, which has been the topic of numerous conspiracy theories and false rumors, didn’t take away any equipment from Fulton County, Mr. Germany advised the president.

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“In Detroit, we had 139 p.c of the folks voted. That’s not too good. In Pennsylvania, that they had properly over 200,000 extra votes than that they had folks voting.”

False. About 51 p.c of registered voters and 38 p.c of your complete inhabitants solid a poll in Detroit.

The determine for Pennsylvania was a reference to defective evaluation performed by state Republican lawmakers. The evaluation relied on a voter registration database that Pennsylvania’s Division of State mentioned was incomplete as just a few counties — together with Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, the 2 largest within the state — had but to totally add their knowledge. The division referred to as the evaluation “apparent misinformation.”

What Mr. Trump Mentioned

“She obtained you to signal a very unconstitutional settlement, which is a disastrous settlement. You’ll be able to’t examine signatures. I can’t think about you’re allowed to do harvesting, I suppose, in that settlement.”

False. This was an inaccurate reference to a settlement between Georgia and the Democratic Social gathering. Underneath the March settlement, officers should notify voters whose signatures had been rejected inside three enterprise days and provides them the prospect to appropriate points. It doesn’t bar officers from verifying signatures and doesn’t permit “harvesting,” or accumulating and dropping off ballots in bulk.

“Harvesting remains to be unlawful within the state of Georgia. And that settlement settlement didn’t change that one iota,” Mr. Raffensperger mentioned within the name.

Curious concerning the accuracy of a declare? E-mail [email protected]

Dec. 23, 2020, 2:36 p.m. ET

Dec. 23, 2020, 2:36 p.m. ET

By Davey Alba

Shortly after the November election, the Trump marketing campaign circulated on its Fb and Twitter accounts, in addition to its web site, the names of seven lifeless Individuals within the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. The lifeless folks had been used to solid votes in final month’s election, the marketing campaign claimed, pointing to the incidents as proof of widespread voter fraud that enabled President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

Native officers have debunked a number of of the dead-voter claims, and there stays no proof of widespread voter fraud. However now, Pennsylvania officers say one of many names held up by the Trump marketing campaign was used to solid a vote within the election.

Right here’s the catch: Authorities say the fraudulent vote was solid for Mr. Trump.

This week, Jack Stollsteimer, the district lawyer of Delaware County, accused Bruce Bartman of Marple Township, Pa., of illegally voting rather than his deceased mom within the basic election. Along with his mom, Mr. Bartman registered his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Weihman, who died in 2019, as a voter, in response to the district lawyer’s workplace, however will not be accused of voting for her. He additionally solid a poll underneath his personal title.

The Trump marketing campaign circulated claims of voter fraud on its social media accounts. Native officers have debunked a number of of the claims.

“That is the one identified case of a ‘lifeless individual’ voting in our county, conspiracy theories however,” Mr. Stollsteimer mentioned in a press release. “The immediate prosecution of this case exhibits that legislation enforcement will proceed to uphold our election legal guidelines each time offered with precise proof of fraud and that we are going to proceed to analyze each allegation that comes our method.”

Samuel Stretton, a lawyer for Mr. Bartman, mentioned: “He’s admitted every part. He’s cooperated.” Mr. Stretton added that he was negotiating a responsible plea, and that Mr. Bartman had no prison file.

“He’s an excellent man,” Mr. Stretton mentioned. “He did one thing very silly underneath some misguided idea that this was his type of protest.”

In an interview with The New York Instances in November after the Trump marketing campaign first made its claims, Mr. Bartman mentioned he didn’t recall seeing a mail-in poll for his mom. “Oh, no, no, I haven’t gotten something,” he mentioned. “Sometimes I might get some spam for her. However not in a number of years.”

He added that he didn’t hear of the Trump marketing campaign’s allegation as a result of he didn’t use social media a lot and solely occasionally logged on to Fb to see photos of his grandchildren.

Requested whether or not he knew why a vote for his mom would have been recorded regardless of her having handed away, he mentioned the state’s governor, Tom Wolf, “doesn’t know something or what’s happening within the metropolis of Philadelphia, or the encircling counties within the center a part of the state.”

A few of the stuff that has gone on in Philadelphia is simply atrocious,” Mr. Bartman added.

Mr. Stretton, his lawyer, mentioned, “He was improper in saying that, he admits he was improper, and since he was approached by the detectives, he has cooperated and advised the reality.”

The declare {that a} vote was fraudulently solid utilizing Elizabeth Bartman’s title and that it was emblematic of systemic voter fraud serving to Mr. Biden unfold extensively on-line. On Fb, articles with the declare from the conservative web sites ZeroHedge and The Epoch Instances had been shared 1,800 occasions and reached as much as 61 million followers, in response to knowledge from CrowdTangle, a Fb-owned social media analytics device.

Dec. 18, 2020, 6:15 p.m. ET

Dec. 18, 2020, 6:15 p.m. ET

By Stephanie Saul

Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who’s combating to maintain her seat in a runoff election, has referred to as her Democratic challenger a radical liberal.Credit score…Nicole Craine for The New York Instances

Senator Kelly Loeffler’s fervid marketing campaign towards her Democratic challenger in Georgia, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, has employed a brand new misleading tactic, casting Mr. Warnock, a Baptist preacher, as un-American by falsely attributing a controversial remark to him that was made by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

Her assault has been bolstered by a multimillion-dollar advert purchase selling a fallacious video of Mr. Warnock that makes use of the identical out-of-context footage.

In a information launch distributed on Friday, Ms. Loeffler’s marketing campaign linked to a 2014 flyer displaying that Mr. Warnock’s church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, had hosted Mr. Wright, a controversial Chicago pastor identified for his fiery rhetoric.

“Warnock has an extended historical past of praising Wright,” Ms. Loeffler’s launch mentioned, “calling him a prophet and celebrating his notorious ‘God rattling America’ speech days after it was delivered. And Warnock himself has repeatedly mentioned ‘God rattling America’ in his sermons.”

But Mr. Warnock has uttered that phrase solely in situations when he was referring to Mr. Wright’s speech, to not endorse that sentiment himself.

Mr. Wright, who was as soon as Barack Obama’s pastor, grew to become a lightning rod within the 2008 presidential marketing campaign as video clips of his incendiary language surfaced, and Mr. Obama broke ties with him that yr earlier than securing the Democratic nomination. In Mr. Wright’s sermon that included the phrases “God rattling America,” he was criticizing america for its historical past of mistreatment of minority teams, together with its enslavement of Africans.

However in Mr. Warnock’s speeches, together with one he gave on the Chautauqua Establishment in New York, he had quoted the phrase as a part of an educational dialogue of Mr. Wright’s speech that defined how the phrase had been excerpted from the speech with out context and “looped to the purpose of advert nauseam” to criticize Mr. Wright.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock is the pastor on the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the place Martin Luther King Jr. as soon as preached.Credit score…Erin Schaff/The New York Instances

Ms. Loeffler’s information launch attacking Mr. Warnock adopted a Fb advert purchase paid for by American Crossroads, an excellent PAC that helps Republican candidates and is believed to be spending as a lot as $35 million to maintain Ms. Loeffler in workplace. The advertisements additionally elevate excerpts from Mr. Warnock’s Chautauqua speech as proof that he had echoed Mr. Wright’s assertion.

Within the runoff marketing campaign for one in all Georgia’s two Senate seats, Ms. Loeffler has tried to color Mr. Warnock as a “radical liberal” and has additionally accused him of supporting the concept of defunding the police, which he denies. The Loeffler marketing campaign, in an advert in November, had additionally mentioned Mr. Warnock supported Mr. Wright’s sentiments.

In actuality, Mr. Warnock has mentioned that he supported Mr. Wright in the identical method he celebrated the “truth-telling custom of the Black church,” which he mentioned makes folks uncomfortable.

Ms. Loeffler’s newest assault towards Mr. Warnock follows an argument that emerged final week after she was photographed at a marketing campaign look in Dawsonville, Ga., with a former Ku Klux Klan member, Chester Doles. After the {photograph} circulated on-line, Ms. Loeffler’s marketing campaign mentioned she didn’t know who Mr. Doles was. (The Atlanta Journal-Structure reported that there was no proof to recommend that Ms. Loeffler knew him.)

The Loeffler marketing campaign didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark about its newest assaults on Mr. Warnock.

Michael J. Brewer, a spokesman for Mr. Warnock, referred to as the newest assault advertisements “one other lowest of the low in Kelly Loeffler and her allies’ efforts to divide and mislead Georgians for their very own political positive aspects,” including that the clips displaying Mr. Warnock had been “pulled from educational discussions.”

Dec. 18, 2020, 6:00 a.m. ET

Dec. 18, 2020, 6:00 a.m. ET

By Sheera Frenkel

“Even after the ban, private Fb profiles — many with giant followings — proceed to debate and promote the conspiracy on the platform,” a brand new report says.Credit score…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

QAnon “superspreaders” have continued to be energetic on Fb, even after the corporate banned the conspiracy motion from its platform two months in the past, in response to a report launched on Friday.

The report, which recognized individuals who acted as superspreaders of the QAnon conspiracy idea, discovered that movies and different content material posted by the accounts had been persevering with to rack up likes, feedback and shares.

“Even after the ban, private Fb profiles — many with giant followings — proceed to debate and promote the conspiracy on the platform,” mentioned the report, revealed by the suppose tank the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the nonpartisan news-rating group NewsGuard. The superspreaders, it mentioned, “had been discovered to be a key hyperlink within the conspiracy chain.”

QAnon, an enormous conspiracy idea that falsely claims {that a} satanic cabal runs the world, started in 2017. It gained its largest viewers in the course of the pandemic.

One of many superspreaders was Larry Prepare dinner, an anti-vaccination activist who began sharing QAnon conspiracies earlier this yr, in response to the report. Within the month after the ban, Mr. Prepare dinner continued to make and share movies that included QAnon explainers for newcomers and claims that the federal government was operating secret detention camps. Although Mr. Prepare dinner was banned by Fb in mid-November, he nonetheless has an account on Instagram, which is owned by Fb.

Different accounts that remained energetic on Fb included these run by yoga and wellness coaches who share QAnon content material, like false claims tying the Covid-19 vaccines to an enormous authorities conspiracy.

“Since August, we’ve eliminated over 1,700 pages and 5,600 teams associated to QAnon and disabled the profiles that ran them,” mentioned Fb spokeswoman Sarah Pollack. She mentioned the corporate additionally redirected folks looking for QAnon to credible assets such because the International Community on Extremism and Expertise.

The report, which studied the expansion of QAnon on Fb because the begin of the pandemic, discovered that the motion had embedded itself into the social community’s cloth and was proving not possible to totally take away.

The latest, worldwide unfold of QAnon continues, the report mentioned. Three of the ten most energetic communities posting QAnon content material on Fb had been German-language teams. Fifteen languages had been represented within the posts by QAnon followers on Fb.

One worldwide superspreader, for instance, uploaded a video from an American QAnon believer that was narrated in Spanish. The video has been watched greater than 786,000 occasions since April.

One other superspreader account linked to a Brazilian nationwide has uploaded movies seen tens of hundreds of occasions. One more video falsely tied the Hollywood celebrities Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres to QAnon. It has been seen over 130,000 occasions since July.

There are 10 substances in Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines. Opposite to a number of conspiracy theories circulating on-line, a monitoring microchip planted by the federal government to surveil the actions of Individuals will not be amongst them.

For months, extensively shared movies and viral posts on social media have baselessly claimed that such applied sciences may discover their method into syringes delivering photographs. Not one of the rumors are true.

With hundreds of thousands of doses of Pfizer’s newly approved vaccine getting distributed nationwide, the rumors have resurfaced, prompting the pharmaceutical firm to publicize what really is in its immunizing recipe.

Within the vaccine itself, there’s one energetic ingredient: a molecule referred to as messenger RNA, or mRNA, which incorporates genetic directions for a coronavirus protein referred to as spike. As soon as injected, the mRNA will instruct human cells to fabricate spike, exposing the immune system to a extremely recognizable function of the virus. The concept is to assist the physique study one of many virus’s most distinguishing traits, in order that the virus shall be acknowledged and quickly quashed if it tries to ascertain an an infection.

The mRNA quickly degrades, leaving no hint within the physique. All that’s left behind is a molecular reminiscence of the virus — the supposed aim of any vaccine.

Pfizer’s vaccine additionally incorporates 9 different substances. 4 of them are lipids with impossibly complicated chemical names: ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis (ALC-3015); (2- hexyldecanoate),2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159); 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine (DPSC); and ldl cholesterol.

These lipids come collectively to type a greasy, protecting bubble across the mRNA, which is of course very fragile and could be chopped to bits if injected immediately into the physique. Swaddled in an oily sphere, the genetic directions have a greater shot of discovering their method into cells.

The vaccine additionally contains sucrose, or sugar, which retains the nanoparticles from clumping up after they’re frozen in storage.

The vaccine additionally incorporates 4 salts: potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, fundamental sodium phosphate dihydrate and sodium chloride. If that final ingredient seems acquainted, it ought to: It’s desk salt.

These widespread chemical substances are present in quite a lot of therapies and vaccines which have lengthy been in use. The salts within the vaccine assist match its contents to the setting of the human physique, which incorporates its personal mixture of pure salts.

Jerica Pitts, Pfizer’s director of worldwide media relations, additionally notes that the vaccine is diluted with water and salt earlier than injection, one other step to make sure that the stability of salts within the combine is excellent.

None of those substances include or resemble microchips.

Dec. 16, 2020, 8:17 p.m. ET

Dec. 16, 2020, 8:17 p.m. ET

By Kevin Roose

Fb confirmed that it has prior to now few days rolled again a change that lifted information from authoritative shops over hyperpartisan sources after November’s election, signaling a return to normalcy for the social community.

The change concerned boosting the burden that Fb’s information feed algorithm assigned to an inside writer high quality rating often called “information ecosystem high quality,” or N.E.Q. It was carried out a number of days after the election as a part of Fb’s emergency “break glass” plan to fight misinformation in the course of the essential postelection interval, whereas votes had been nonetheless being counted.

The change resulted in a rise in Fb visitors for mainstream information publishers together with CNN, NPR and The New York Instances, whereas partisan websites like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats noticed their numbers fall. After the election, some Fb staff requested at an organization assembly whether or not the “nicer information feed” may keep, in response to a number of individuals who attended.

However they had been advised that the “break glass” measures, together with the N.E.Q. change, had been by no means speculated to be everlasting.

“This was a brief change we made to assist restrict the unfold of inaccurate claims concerning the election,” mentioned Joe Osborne, a Fb spokesman. “We’re nonetheless making certain that folks see authoritative and informative information on Fb, particularly throughout main information cycles and round necessary world subjects like elections, Covid-19 and local weather change.”

Different measures Fb has developed to fight political misinformation and hate speech have been scaled again or vetoed by executives prior to now, both as a result of they damage Fb’s utilization numbers or as a result of executives feared they might disproportionately hurt right-wing publishers, a number of Fb staff advised The Instances final month.

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