In the wake of the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol that President Donald Trump heavily promoted on social media, platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and others finally moved to ban the president.
The result? A sudden drop in the online spread of election misinformation.
According to research by Zignal Labs, which the Washington Post reported on Saturday, online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent in the weeklong period following Twitter’s decision to ban Trump on January 8.
There are other factors that could have contributed to the decline, including diminished hopes on the far right of overturning the presidential election after Congress affirmed Joe Biden’s electoral victory. But to the extent that Twitter’s ban and the related scrubbing of right-wing conspiracy accounts were aimed at curbing disinformation, they appear to be working, at least in the short term. Not only has the spread of misinformation slowed, the research indicates online discussion around the topics that motivated the Capitol riot has also diminished.