What Twitter and Facebook won’t say
Image: OpenMoji / Protocol
Good morning! This Thursday, why it's hard to know how Facebook and Twitter are doing this week, how a younger generation follows an election, and what made Uber's stock pop yesterday.
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Anna Kramer writes: It's a misinformation miasma out there, and Facebook and Twitter aren't clearing up the fog. While these platforms prepared for months (years, even!) to handle the spread of misinformation after the election, so far they've provided little data to evaluate what they've done in practice and whether it's been effective.
What we know: In the 36 or so hours since the polls closed, posts about voter fraud, "stolen" elections and premature victory calls flooded social media. Twitter and Facebook responded by slapping labels on misleading posts from candidates, journalists and the president.
What we don't know: The total number of posts that have been labeled or throttled (no platform agreed to share that data when we asked); if Democrats or Republicans are facing more scrutiny; how much misinformation the platforms have missed; whether the social media frenzy could translate into actual unrest.
Why are we so in the dark? Because there's no incentive to share the information, Joan Donovan, Harvard's leading expert on disinformation campaigns, told me. "None of that looks good reputationally from the corporation standpoint," she explained. "We never even got a full autopsy of the 2016 social media content related to the election cycle. No researcher has really been able to study with any depth what kind of misinformation campaigns were happening."
Everyone's had their own routine over the last 48 hours or so. Lots of cable news, lots of refreshing POLITICO or FiveThirtyEight, lots of caffeine and junk food. And a growing number of people are turning to new places to follow the proceedings:
In most cases online, the content felt the same: Like you were sitting in a room with your smart, opinionated, occasionally obnoxious friend, doomscrolling together and reacting in real time.
I still think the best election show I've watched all week was the livestream of Philadelphia's ballot-processing facility. Turns out democracy mostly looks like paperwork.
On Protocol: Prop 24 in California could mean a lot of privacy legislation happens through ballot measures, and TechNet's Linda Moore said that could be a problem:
Niche streaming services won't die because of Netflix, they'll thrive, said Shudder GM Craig Engler:
Maybe The Day After Election Day needs to be a national holiday, too?
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That's how many dollars each Uber share was worth as trading ended yesterday, a jump of almost 15% in the day after Prop 22 passed in California. (Lyft was up a bit over 11%.) It was a good day for tech in general, actually, but a big win — and a huge sigh of relief — for gig companies.
When the sitting president says he has "claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes," a bunch of states he didn't win, there's really only one GIF you can use. And everyone on the internet used that GIF last night.
Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.