After spawning the “fake news” problem four years ago, social media platforms are battling election misinformation being pushed due to the close U.S. election results. And the calls aren’t just coming from inside the White House, so to speak. Donald Trump is running his mouth about rigged elections and stopping the count, and his followers are echoing the chant both online and in the streets.
Well, TikTok said it won’t stand for young Republicans spreading conspiracy theories in 15-second increments. After New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz spotted two popular accounts, The Republican Hype House and The Republican Boys, making claims of “election fraud,” she raised the alarm and TikTok deleted the offending videos. But there’s only so much that platforms can do to staunch the flow of dangerous misinformation in these precarious times.
Those two accounts together reach more than a million followers. Another affiliated group, The Republican Girls, brings 300,000 additional fans to the table. Like other TikTok collectives, The Republican Hype House channels the talents of its members to churn out content — but in their case, all the dispatches are pushing Trumpism to young conservatives. The groups have the potential to reach far more people, who might encounter their videos through algorithmic recommendations or hashtags.
As November 4th progressed and Michigan and Wisconsin were called in Joe Biden’s favor, the Republican TikTok stars seemed distressed, and that’s when they started making claims of “election fraud.” Each of the accounts has been relatively quiet since TikTok removed the misleading content.
This isn't the first time the groups have gotten in trouble for spreading misinformation. In August, The Republican Hype House posted a deceptively edited clip of Joe Biden (that was later removed). The group also promoted a debunked conspiracy theory that claims Black Lives Matter is a front to launder money to Democrats.
The collectives addressed the election misinformation kerfuffle in subsequent posts yesterday: “If you’re here to learn about voter fraud, it’s the wrong page for you,” a member of The Republican Boys said in a video, noting approximately six of their posts had been censored for broaching the subject. Comments on the missive were dominated by gleeful liberals, however. “Look guys they r so mad… I’m so happy,” was a representative reply.