Donald Trump's Two Fake Claims on US Vote Count Among Facebook’s Most Popular Posts in Last 24 Hours
US President Donald Trump gestures after speaking during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on Wednesday. (AFP)
The US vote count thriller has kept everyone on the edge as the world waits with a bated breath to see America announce its next president. The counting has been going on for two days now and Democrat Joe Biden maintains a lead to secure the presidential post.
Donald Trump on the other hand has been calling for halting the vote count, calling for legal battle and has raised questions on the integrity and credibility of the poll process.
While Twitter censored Trump's tweet where he questioned the poll process, two of Trump's fake claims on Facebook were its most popular posts in the last 24 hours, The Independent reported.
“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled.Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!” Trump posted.
According to reports, Trump's controversial post performed 8.7 times better than his average message, which have been more popular than his rival Joe Biden's posts.
It received nearly 800,000 likes and reactions, accumulated nearly 220,000 comments and was shared 75,000 times, according to Crowdtangle.
With the outcome of the US presidential race still in limbo, Trump and his supporters seized on — and spread — online misinformation about legally cast absentee and mail-in votes in battleground states. They used it as fodder to support the president’s baseless declaration on live television early Wednesday that Democrats were trying to “steal the election” from him.
“They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” Trump wrote in a tweet hours later. Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, paving the way for him to contest the election’s outcome.
Meanwhile, Facebook on Thursday banned a large group called “Stop the Steal” that supporters of Trump were using to organize protests against the presidential vote count. Some members had called for violence, while many falsely claimed that Democrats are “stealing” the election from Republicans.
Though the group amassed more than 350,000 members before Facebook took it down, it was just one of several smaller groups that popped up as vote counting extended for days in several battleground states. Inside the groups, members and organizers tried to ensure they would get around Facebook's moderators and “trolls” who might report or mock them.
“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events," Facebook said in a statement. "The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group."
Facebook said it will continue to watch for activity that violates its rules and will take action if it does. As of Thursday afternoon, a copycat “Stop the Steal” group was growing steadily, nearing 13,000 members, and others were easily searchable on Facebook.
Inside the groups, members posted baseless claims of voter fraud and organized protests. Calls for violence were not immediately apparent, although the the Center for Countering Digital Hate shared a screenshot of one post in the now-banned group that read “Neither side is going to concede. Time to clean the guns, time to hit the streets.”
In the new group, administrators — who create and moderate groups on Facebook, cautioned people to keep posts civil and vent frustrations without making threats. They scrupulously warned members that they will remove anything that calls for violence, and said they were making plans to move the group to other, less-moderated platforms.