Science

Accounts Recovered on Twitter: Why Disinformation Might Explode

Will misinformation return to Twitter? Under the leadership of Elon Musk, Twitter recently restored tens of thousands of accounts, some of which belonged to conspirators or anti-vaccine, at the risk of resurrecting the phenomenon of disinformation on the social network. More than 27,000 recovered accounts have been banned for misinformation, harassment and hate speech, according to developer Travis Brown, quoted by several organizations. In response to an AFP inquiry, he said that his list was incomplete and that there could be more such accounts. “Recovering these accounts will make the platform a magnet for actors who want to spread false information,” warns Jonathan Nagler, co-director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics.

“And there will be less hate speech moderation, making the network less welcoming to many users,” he adds. Among the personalities returning to the bluebird are “anti-vaccine” figures such as cardiologist Peter McCullough or Dr. Robert Malone, who was suspended a year ago for warning about the perceived dangers of coronavirus vaccines without verified information to back it up. After lifting his account suspension, Robert Malone, who has over 869,000 followers, posted several posts with false information about the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as former President Donald Trump, who nevertheless, for the moment, is keeping his promise not to return. and use only the social network Truth Social, which he himself created last year.

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Right, conspiracy…

Mike Lindell is one of those who picked up the baton. Twice suspended in 2021, the CEO of My Pillow and a staunch supporter of Donald Trump has called, once his account is reinstated, to “melt down electronic voting machines to make prison bars.” A direct reference to the conspiracy theory that the vote count in the 2020 presidential election was manipulated by voting machines, which has never been demonstrated. Also re-admitted to Twitter is far-right activist Pamela Geller, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “one of the most vocal anti-Muslim activists in the US.” Earlier this week, the creator of The Geller Report published a report about Muslim students who complained that a teacher showed them photos of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Have they already beheaded him?” she tweeted, referring to the murder of French history and geography professor Samuel Paty in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, a suburb of Paris, in October 2020. “In the age of Musk, the ‘super-spreaders’ of disinformation have grown bolder, and readers have less proof of the reliability of sources,” said Jack Brewster of the media observatory NewsGuard. In mid-December, Twitter said in a post on its platform that “the permanent shutdown was a disproportionate measure for violating the rules” of the social network. Elon Musk then clarified that Twitter “remains committed to preventing dangerous content” on its site, as well as “malicious people.” “Restored accounts must always comply with our policies.” Twitter was held accountable this week following an incident involving Buffalo Bills footballer Damar Hamlin.

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The 24-year-old defender’s cardiac arrest on Monday after being shocked on the pitch was the reason for many Twitter users to link to the coronavirus vaccine. “Before the Covid vaccines, you didn’t see athletes fall on the field as hard as they do today,” Republican House of Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted. “Now is the time to explore vaccines against Covid.” “If Elon Musk recently announced that he plans to hand over control to Twitter, “it will take more time to fix” the platform,” warns Nora Benavidez of the Free Press media observatory. She warns that “a series of measures will need to be taken to reverse Musk’s changes, reinvest in moderation, and restructure platform management.”

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