With the midterm elections only weeks away, the major platforms have all pledged to block, label or marginalize anything that violates company policies, including disinformation, hate speech or calls to violence.
Still, the cottage industry of experts dedicated to countering disinformation — think tanks, universities and nongovernment organizations — say the industry is not doing enough. The Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University warned last month, for example, that the major platforms continued to amplify “election denialism” in ways that undermined trust in the democratic system.
Another challenge is the proliferation of alternative platforms for those falsehoods and even more extreme views.
Many of those new platforms have flourished in the wake of Mr. Trump’s defeat in 2020, though they have not yet reached the size or reach of Facebook and Twitter. They portray Big Tech as beholden to the government, the deep state or the liberal elite.
Parler, a social network founded in 2018, was one of the fastest-growing sites — until Apple’s and Google’s app stores kicked it off after the deadly riot on Jan. 6, which was fueled by disinformation and calls for violence online. It has since returned to both stores and begun to rebuild its audience by appealing to those who feel their voices have been silenced.