BNN Bloomberg: Most U.S. Voters See Misinformation Online and Many Believe It. “The SurveyUSA poll of more than 3,000 registered voters found that 65% reported seeing political disinformation in their Facebook feeds. A quarter of them reported believing the claims. Conducted between Oct. 14-19, the survey revealed that 85% of registered voters read that mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud, with 35% believing it.”
USA Today: Twitter adding messages to preemptively debunk misinformation ahead of election. “Twitter will roll out messages on its platform preemptively debunking false information about the 2020 election as social media companies brace for a deluge of misinformation. On Monday, Twitter said it will introduce prompts to U.S. users ‘that preemptively address topics that are likely to be the subject of election misinformation.'”
BuzzFeed News: Facebook Banned An Alleged Russian Agent Spreading Disinformation About Joe Biden. “Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach, an ally of President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, for election interference. Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, has been working with Giuliani and a shadowy group of Ukrainian operatives to gather dirt on former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter for roughly a year.”
Washington Post: Trump attacks ‘Fauci and all these idiots,’ says public is tired of pandemic, public health restrictions as infection rates rise. “President Trump dismissed precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and attacked the nation’s top infectious-disease expert as a ‘disaster’ [October 19], arguing that people are getting tired of all the focus on a pandemic that has killed more than 219,000 Americans and continues to infect thousands of people in communities across the country.”
NBC News: QAnon accounts make a dent in voting discussion on Twitter. “More than 1 in 50 tweets about voting in the 2020 elections in August and September were posted by QAnon accounts, according to research released Friday by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit.”
Washington Post: U.S. agencies mount major effort to prevent Russian interference in the election even though Trump downplays threat. “The U.S. government is mounting a major effort to prevent a repeat of 2016 — when federal agencies were slow to address Russia’s attempts to manipulate the presidential election — and is taking a range of actions despite the disinterest of President Trump, who questions intelligence that the Kremlin is intent on undermining American democracy.”
News18: Report: Ransomware Disables Georgia County Election Database. “A ransomware attack that hobbled a Georgia county government in early October reportedly disabled a database used to verify voter signatures in the authentication of absentee ballots. It is the first reported case of a ransomware attack affecting an election-related system in the 2020 cycle.”
ProPublica: How to Spot (and Fight) Election Misinformation. “Misinformation and disinformation, especially online, continue to play a huge role in the 2020 election. Learn more about the types of false information you’re likely to come across this year — and how you can help fight it.”
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.”
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.
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.