Promos for Tucker Carlson’s Factually Challenged January 6 Show Are Flourishing on Social Media

Promos for Tucker Carlson’s Factually Challenged January 6 Show Are Flourishing on Social Media


Roughly a year ago, tech companies were gearing up for the 2020 election, rolling out changes designed to make their platforms behave less like chaos agents. Many of those changes targeted misinformation, including affixing fact-checking labels to false or misleading posts. Countless posts by Donald Trump received such warning labels before his tweets provoking violence—days after the deadly Capitol attack—got him permanently banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

This time around, Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s Patriot Purge is making the rounds online. The new documentary series features debunked conspiracy theories about the January 6 Capitol riot—theories that Carlson and his guests espouse without any factual rebuttal. A preview for the series shows an interview subject asserting, without evidence, that Jan. 6 was a “false flag” operation orchestrated by the government to ensnare Trump supporters. So far, the clip has reportedly racked up more than 150,000 views and 11,000 engagements on Facebook, where Tucker Carlson Tonight posted it. Carlson’s tweet containing the video has reportedly drawn over three million views and been shared over 13,000 times. And on YouTube, some uploads of the video have gotten over 10,000 views.

The question, of course, is how each platform is handling the clip. As the Washington Post notes, “The incident serves as a high-profile test of how social networks enforce their often opaque policies against political misinformation against prominent users, particularly outside of election season.” So far, the responses have been relatively lackluster. Previews for the series, including one flagged by the Post, “have been age-restricted on YouTube in accordance with our violent or graphic content policies,” a spokesperson told the paper, adding that YouTube is continuing to “limit the spread of harmful misinformation in search results and recommendations related to the January 6 insurrection, including those alleging it was a ‘hoax’ or ‘false flag.’” 

Twitter appears to have failed the test most profoundly: the platform, which has previously debunked Carlson’s “false flag” conspiracy, told the Post last week that Carlson’s tweet containing the trailer did not violate the platform’s civic integrity policy. “It is disappointing that Twitter has deemed [Carlson’s] sharing of a promotional video about the series as not violating their policies intended to keep their users safe from lies and disinformation,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who has loudly called on Fox to fire their biggest star, told the Post in a statement. 

Interestingly, Facebook, which has been under increased scrutiny for its role in the insurrection and its own unwillingness to take action when it comes to misinformation, seems to be treading more carefully than usual. “Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the post is eligible for fact-checking,” the Post reports, noting the company added a “sensitive content” warning to the video following the outlet’s Monday inquiry.

As my colleague Caleb Ecarma wrote this week, the first episode of Carlson’s special involves a variety of guests claiming that January 6 was a setup of some kind—one, security analyst Michael Waller, goes so far as to imply that the insurrection was “a political warfare operation” similar to those carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies in the Soviet Union. As Ecarma also noted in the midst of the Facebook Papers flood last week, in spite of right-wingers’ conclusion that documents released by whistleblower Frances Haugen proved Facebook’s mission to suppress conservative speech, the documents in fact show a company that has bent over backwards to avoid allegations of anti-conservative bias:

The behind-the-scenes discussions at Facebook “show that employees and their bosses have hotly debated whether and how to restrain right-wing publishers, with more-senior employees often providing a check on agitation from the rank and file,” as detailed by Journal reporters Keach Hagey and Jeff Horwitz.

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Roughly a year ago, tech companies were gearing up for the 2020 election, rolling out changes designed to make their platforms behave less like chaos agents. Many of those changes targeted misinformation, including affixing fact-checking labels to false or misleading posts. Countless posts by Donald Trump received such warning labels before his tweets provoking violence—days…

Comments

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    Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond?

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