'Much more muted': New analysis explains why misinformation did not cause chaos during the midterm elections
Conspiracy theories and misinformation did not greatly impact the 2022 midterm elections, a new analysis has determined.
According to Axios, many of the far-right election deniers that participated in critical races also lost elections, which signals that the influence of misinformation is not as detrimental as experts feared.
Speaking to the news outlet, Jared Holt, a senior research manager for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, weighed in with his perspective of misinformation. Although there is still a mass circulation of misinformation, Holt has emphasized that the impact of it is not as apparent.
"Denialism narratives are still out there circulating," Holt said. "The difference here is that they just don't seem to be exciting people like they did in 2020."
"It's hard to say how much of that is attributable to [actions from] tech platforms, and how much is just general public sentiment," Holt said.
Experts also noted that misinformation was more of a driving force in 2020 as opposed to now. The news outlet noted, "Though misinformation remains present in large quantities, this time it had less reach, was more spread out, and was harder to find."
During the Stanford Law School's "Moderated Content" podcast last week, Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory who also oversees the non-partisan coalition Election Integrity Partnership, also weighed in with similar sentiments.
"The amount of content we saw that you could call kind of election disinformation was actually larger than what we saw in 2020 — but overall, the effects were much more muted," Stamos said.
The news outlet also noted that five factors have also helped to diminish the impact of misinformation: De-platforming, too many new apps, an overall rejection of election deniers, defamation fears, more education.
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