Reuters: How social media companies will handle post-U.S. election scenarios. “In the run-up to the U.S. vote in November, social media companies like Facebook Inc and Twitter have announced new rules for various post-election scenarios.”
New-to-me, from Fast Company: How many people have voted so far in 2020? This live map and state database will tell you . “In the interest of cutting to the chase, your suspicions are correct: A record number of people are voting before Election Day this year, and, yes, a lot of them are Democrats. That’s according to the latest data from the U.S. Elections Project, a website and portal that tracks early voting numbers.”
WSAV: How to turn off Facebook voter registration prompts. “Whether you’re already tired of election season, or you’ve already voted early, you may be sick of seeing the prompts on Facebook to register to vote. Here’s your hack to make them go away.”
ABC News: With coronavirus concerns a factor, it’s all tied up in North Carolina: Poll. “Coronavirus concerns lift former Vice President Joe Biden in North Carolina while the state’s sizable evangelical and rural populations pull for President Donald Trump, producing a dead-heat contest in a state that’s backed Democratic presidential candidates just twice in the last half century.”
BuzzFeed News: Seniors Who Aren’t Afraid Of The Coronavirus Love What Trump Is Saying About COVID. “…The Villages, known for its manicured lawns and golf carts and courses, is a Republican haven. If there are older adults anywhere in America who aren’t particularly concerned about a pandemic that is particularly dangerous for older people, it is here. Here, the fear is about supposedly rising socialism and radically changing American culture, not the coronavirus. Frankly, they’re just not that interested.”
TIME: This Isn’t the First Time America Has Voted During a Pandemic. Here’s How the 1918 Flu Affected That Year’s Election. “As the midterm elections of 1918 approached, World War I was winding down, but a new strain of the flu was surging. It had been spreading earlier in the year, but is believed to have mutated into a more deadly, more contagious strain that fall. Data analyzed by Tom Ewing, a professor of history at Virginia Tech, reveal that death rates in northeastern cities had spiked in late September and mid-October in 1918, and had sharply declined by Election Day on Nov. 5, while West Coast cities were in the throes of ongoing outbreaks.”
Wall Street Journal (and not paywalled for me): Why Social Media Is So Good at Polarizing Us. “A growing body of research suggests that social media is accelerating the trend, and many political scientists worry it’s tearing our country apart. It isn’t clear how to solve the problem. And new research suggests that one often-proposed solution—exposing users on the platforms to more content from the other side—might actually be making things worse, because of how social media amplifies extreme opinions.” It was interesting to read this in context with a recent article in Scientific American. I encourage you to read both.
Washington Post: Your guide to following the election on social media. “The best way to accurately track election results, and avoid falling for misinformation between now and Election Day, is to avoid too much social media. Stick with a handful of reputable news sources and check their sites, apps or print versions directly. Or heck, turn off your smartphone and immerse yourself in a book or craft project until after Election Day….The second-best way to follow the election results is to follow these tips and know what every social media site is doing to try to manage the problem.”
BuzzFeed News: “I Can’t Vote For Someone Who I Blame For The Death Of My Husband”: Meet The Coronavirus Widows. “As the country nears an election set to be in part a referendum on the Trump administration’s handling of a pandemic that has killed over 212,000 Americans, millions of grieving people — the loved ones left behind by the victims — will also be a voting bloc.”
Daytona Beach News-Journal: Google hack sends Clint Curtis searchers to Viagra ad. “Clint Curtis, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida’s 6th District, is asking Google to fix a problem. On Thursday morning, folks typing his name into the search engine can access what appears to be his website, clintcurtis.com. When the searcher clicks on the link, though, an online pharmacy ad pops up selling Viagra, the erectile dysfunction drug.” I just tried it. I’m not in Florida but it works fine, no Viagra ads.
Mashable: Facebook removes 120,000 posts for trying to ‘obstruct voting’ in U.S. election. “With the U.S. presidential election just weeks away, voter suppression efforts are in full-swing on social media. Among the prime targets for voter suppression attempts: The world’s largest social network, Facebook, and its sister platform, Instagram.”
Associated Press: Black churches mobilizing voters despite virus challenges. “In recent election cycles, Black church congregations across the country have launched get-out-the-vote campaigns commonly referred to as ‘souls to the polls.’ To counteract racist voter suppression tactics that date back to the Jim Crow era, early voting in the Black community is stressed from pulpits nearly as much as it is by the candidates seeking their support. But voter mobilization in Black church communities will look much different in 2020, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic that has infected millions across the U.S. and has taken a disproportionate toll on Black America.”
Reuters: Google launches new features to help locate nearest voting locations. “Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday it was introducing new features across its search engine, Maps and voice assistant to help voters in the United States find their nearest voting locations.”
CNN: Microsoft takes down massive hacking operation that could have affected the election. “Microsoft has disrupted a massive hacking operation that it said could have indirectly affected election infrastructure if allowed to continue. The company said Monday it took down the servers behind Trickbot, an enormous malware network that criminals were using to launch other cyberattacks, including a strain of highly potent ransomware.”
Scientific American: When a Journalist Becomes a Disinformation Agent. “Disinformation scholars often warn that focusing on the intent of influence operations or the sophistication of their techniques overestimates their impact. It’s true that many disinformation tactics are not robust in isolation. But the targeted victim is fragile; pervasive anxiety and a deep social divide in America make us vulnerable to attacks from afar and within. And because it’s cheap and easy for bad actors to throw proverbial spaghetti at social feeds, occasionally something sticks, leading to massive amplification by major news organizations. This was my goal as an editor in chief of unreality.”