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False narratives spread as Trump talks leaving office

President Donald Trump said yesterday for the first time that he will leave office if the Electoral College confirms Joe Biden as president on December 14. But he also declined to concede, leaving enough room for supporters to continue with unfounded allegations of voter fraud and false declarations of victory.

On Twitter, one user baselessly claimed that “Trump won the Popular Vote as well as the Electoral College. It’s obvious” in a post with some 4,000 likes and 1,000 retweets (the account, which has approximately 10,000 followers, is rated as “disruptive” by Bot Sentinel). Another account with a #MAGA hashtag tweeted that Trump “is WINNING!” with the hashtag #ReleasetheKraken in a post with nearly 1,800 interactions. On Facebook, one pro-Trump Page with 2.13 million followers posted an article titled “Trump Blames Voting Irregularities For Biden Presumptive Win — Says He Won The Election,” asking readers if they agreed. The post received at least 23,000 likes. The Proud Republicans Page, with more than 300,000 followers, also posted a poll asking, “Should President Trump REFUSE to concede the election?” that attracted 680 shares.

Meanwhile, Sidney Powell’s lawsuits alleging election fraud in Michigan and Georgia gave false narratives about rigged electronic voting systems a boost, prompting Dominion Voting Systems to release a point-by-point response. User complaints that several Twitter posts with links to Powell’s lawsuits were labeled “potentially spammy or unsafe” by the social platform prompted accusations of censorship, with the president chiming in. A Twitter spokesperson later told Fox Business that the label had been a mistake and the “action has now been reversed.”

News about the lawsuits was also extensively shared on Reddit and Facebook, including a post by former Republican Senate candidate Mark Curran and various pro-Trump pages, as well as posts in various languages including VietnameseJapanese and Italian. — Yevgeny Kuklychev