US Election 2020: Social Media Giants Ban Misleading Hashtags to Stop Spreading Conspiracy Theories

To stop circulating misinformation about the US Election 2020, tech giants like Facebook and TikTok are blocking hashtags that have been used to spread the theories. 

Twitter is "proactively monitoring the hashtag #StopTheSteal and related Tweets since Tuesday morning and are continuing to do so," a Twitter spokesperson said. 

Read also: US Election 2020: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Fight Against Fake News

Which Hashtags Were Banned from Spreading Misinformation About the Election?

Hashtags like #StopTheSteal, #RiggedElection, and #SharpieGate have been used to claim that the Democrats are manipulating the election. 

As reported by The Verge, searches for #SharpieGate and #StopTheSteal have been banned all over Facebook. Facebook notes that the hashtags promoted by Donald Trump Jr. and his associates are against the community's guidelines. 

Ryan Mac from Buzzfeed also reported that Facebook had banned a massive group, Stop the Steal 2020, because they 'saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.' The group has amassed over 300k members in two days. 

Mother Jones reported that the group belongs to Republican operatives. The group was created way back in 2019, following the news of President Trump's impeachment from the White House. 

However, many other hashtags still work. Although Facebook has been trying to suppress the spread of conspiracy QAnon stories, these hashtags have expanded into many branches. 

On the other hand, TikTok has taken down some related hashtags like #RiggedElection, #SharpieGate, and many others. #SharpieGate alleges that Sharpie markers have been used to make Trump's polls go uncounted in Arizona. 

Tech Crunch reported that TikTok vows to 'promote a safe and positive experience' on the platform, hence the decision. However, the tech titan still has a long way to go because videos smaller creators usually go unnoticed. 

Twitter does not take down any of these hashtags but labels the tweets as 'potentially misleading' and redirects its users to learn more about the election. Since last year, Twitter has removed all political ads from its platform. 

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Congress Hearing

Both parties, whether it's Donald Trump's Republican or Joe Biden's Democrat, have been going at each other's throats since the race to the White House started. 

Last October, tech bosses Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), and Sundar Pichai (Google) were subpoenaed by the Senate Commerce to review the Section 230 of the 1996's Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 protects tech giants from both Democrat and Republican parties' laws regarding the content made by users. Twitter values Section 230, calling it a reactionary approach, innovation, and freedom of expression. 

The hearing titled "Does Section 230's Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?" questioned the tech moguls how content moderation works on their platforms. 

The winning candidates of the race to the White House will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021.

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