OAN doubles down on far-right conspiracy theories as election technology company threatens defamation suit

One American News, like Newsmax TV, has gone out of its way to promote the baseless conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump, not President-elect Joe Biden, really won the 2020 presidential election. Two companies that have been targeted by far-right election conspiracy theorists include Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, both of which specialize in election technology. And journalist Kelsey Vlamis, in an article published by Business Insider on Christmas Day 2020, reports that OAN has been doubling down on election conspiracy theories while being threatened with a defamation lawsuit by Dominion.

According to Vlamis, "In response to threats of a defamation lawsuit, the One America News Network is leaning further into some election conspiracy theories that the network has featured on its shows. Dominion Voting Systems previously sent OAN letters threatening to sue, accusing the network of spreading the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the election technology company manipulated votes in favor of President-elect Joe Biden in the November general election."

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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