Pretend Marjorie Taylor Inexperienced Tweet Highlights Risks Of Misinformation On Social Media

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 4: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., Is seen having during a group photo … [+] Freshmen members of the House of Representatives Republican Conference on the steps of the Capitol House of Representatives on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Photo by Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

It’s all too common these days for almost everyone to tweet something they would later regret. For celebrities, athletes and, above all, politicians, the wrong tweet can even derail careers. Now, in our particularly hyperpolarized world, we see many lawmakers using social media to make extremely bold – and sometimes questionable – statements.

Earlier this week, a tweet allegedly from Georgia Republican Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene certainly fell into the “questionable testimony” category and quickly got around, with some suggesting it will be used as “evidence” of it could mean that they are “planning” the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th.

However, Rep. Greene did not send the tweet.

Fact checkers from PolitiFact and Lead Stories have reported that a photo of a comment attributed to MP Marjorie Taylor Greene was fabricated.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene has not written or posted a tweet about ‘thin evidence’ relating to January 6th. It was invented, ”@PolitiFact tweeted Thursday night.

A Greene spokesperson also made it clear that lawmakers didn’t make or write the comment on the Capitol attack, PolitiFact added, noting that the fabricated tweet came days after Rolling Stone was released claiming some Protest organizers from 6th communication with congressmen. Greene has further alleged that she was not involved in the protest planning.

Make the rounds

Although the tweet was confirmed to have been fabricated, it has made the rounds on social media, with screenshots posted on Facebook and other platforms. It was retweeted on Twitter and has been widely distributed since it first appeared on Wednesday.

Several other news outlets have identified it as being made up.

“We know it’s a fake and the tweet was exposed on website after website,” said Matthew Schmidt, Ph.D., international affairs coordinator at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Harbor.

“She has said terrible things in the past and I think that could harm our democracy as much as what was claimed in that tweet,” added Schmidt. “These things are not new.”

It is true that for much of our nation’s history there have been allegations that cast our lawmakers in a very bad light. On the one hand, social media can make it much easier to spread misinformation and even disinformation to the masses, but the same technology could expose these falsehoods just as quickly.

“It used to be a lot more difficult to prove a falsehood,” explained Schmidt, who noted that there are now full-time political fact checkers and websites that do nothing but check such misinformation.

“It’s actually easier to post a counter-tweet today than it is to respond to such an accusation in the pre-social media era,” he noted.

Still, social media is still ripe for fake news and there is no shortage of misinformation / disinformation campaigns beyond fake tweets.

“The greatest danger with the spread of deep fake videos on social media is that Facebook and other social platforms are obviously unable or unwilling to curb the spread of misinformation,” warned technology analyst Charles King of Pund-IT.

“Over the past few weeks, internal Facebook documents have shown that the company’s leadership was informed and knew about the negative effects of misinformation about Covid-19, the 2020 elections and other issues, but did little or nothing to prevent it “Added. added king. “While there are certainly significant technological challenges in accurately identifying fraudulent photos and videos, the inaction of social media executives is the powerful fuel that can turn a weak spark into wildfire.”

What about elections?

Although such fabricated tweets can be addressed quickly, there is still a danger that could arise if this type of misinformation / disinformation is trending on the eve of an election, especially in a close race.

“That could be a key element where this would be a concern,” said Schmidt. “Being close to an election is a factor, but it should also target a fairly non-polarizing politician, which someone like Greene is not.”

The biggest concern, however, could be whether enough people are actually taking the time to read beyond the tweets. It’s true that PolitiFact, Reuters, and a host of other sites exposed this tweet – but as has been seen, people still believe what they want to believe.

“We need people who get their news from sources outside of social media, and I firmly believe in the trade press,” said Schmidt. “This is really a call to educated citizens who take the time to find out what is true and what is not.”

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