02/23/20 - Political Misinformation

Tags Politics

God help me, I’ve added a politics tag.

Yesterday I had guests over and one of my guests was using the Imgur app on her phone. She read us a post about Bernie Sanders raising the income tax on incomes $29,000+ to 52%. I waited until she was finished, then remarked, “Those numbers are not correct.” I didn’t say it in a confrontational way, it was simply a statement of fact. I knew that information wasn’t accurate and I wasn’t going to entertain it for conversation. Without missing a beat she snapped her phone shut and changed the subject.

Later that evening while I was having dinner with friends, the exact same Imgur post came up. My friend commented it had been marked on her app as misinformation based on crowd-sourcing, and she showed me how in her app the post was greyed out and had a warning message on it. She said a friend of hers flagged it. This morning, I looked the post up and saw that Snopes had also debunked the meme.

The recent news that Russian propagandists have been trying to assist Senator Sanders in the election was disconcerting, but not surprising. He is a polarizing candidate for some and already has a reputation for trollish supporters, so it seems some of Russia’s work is done for them. It lifted my spirits to see that Imgur had some sort of fact-checking mechanism in place and the community was stepping up to identify the false information. That being said, this particular meme has spread far and I found another copy of it on Imgur this morning that did not appear to be flagged. I couldn’t figure out how to flag posts so I’m not sure how it’s done or what the impact might be.