With the votes cast and the Iowa caucus now behind us (well, kind of), it’s time to ruminate on the role that social media and the digital space will play in 2020 as we continue the slog to Election Day 2020. Social media is a differentiator. That was well-established in 2016—and it has resulted in many a company being hauled in front of Congress to detail its means for combatting misinformation.
On previous posts we’ve keyed in on the way digital media—video in particular—can easily be altered to promote a particular narrative or viewpoint. These manipulated clips can spread like wildfire across social media, so the onus is on the specific platforms to monitor and limit the false information that it provides visibility to.
YouTube is (thankfully) up to the challenge, announcing that it will bar any content that has been altered to mislead the viewer—an ongoing issue with edited “deepfakes” that can sway public opinion.
This is absolutely a step in the right direction.
The fever swamps of the internet that crank out this material have a singular goal that’s premised on bad intentions, and many times all it takes is a few initial shares on Twitter or Facebook before the groundwork is laid for conspiracy theories and negative narratives. It’s expected that these peddlers of false information are gearing up to poison the well of popular opinion, so it’s good to see YouTube getting proactive as we roll into the election.