Spreading Fake News29 Sep 2017
I was alarmed to have found a number of blatantly false and malicious posts in the Donald Trump subreddit which have quickly garnered over 3000 upvotes.These posts often show up in most r/The_Donald users on their front reddit main page. Most recently, I have seen this post:
I saw another post which furthered the notion that Michelle Obama was a man, but that was quickly taken down by moderators.
Most people who read and upvoted these posts probably believed them to be true. The top 2 or 3 comments often affirmed the views espoused by the post. These comments often provided “rationale” for the misinformation presented in these posts. For example, in the post about Obama faking his Ivy League education, one of the top commenters said, “I would trust Malik because he’s Obama’s (Soetoro’s apparently) brother. I mean that’s a credible source if you ask me.” Another top commenter said, “Quick, grab the broom and sweep this back under the rug before America realizes they elected a foreign, American hating Muslim at the direction of the America hating Democratic party.”
In the Donald Trump subreddit, it’s CSS is programmed so that you can’t downvote posts in the subreddit. This allows for fake information to spread easily with little repercussion. Thus, it allows for bots to easily upvote posts and disallow for real people to bring accountability to these posts.
I think this is a testament to the power of echo chambers on online platforms such as the r/The_Donald subreddit. These echo chambers allows for fake news, making America more misinformed and divided.
What’s even more alarming is the recent news that Russia ran fake black activist accounts to spread division in America. I would not be shocked if we found evidence of Russian bots in the r/The_Donald subreddit and America should be more focused on that security issue.