Tweets about fraud in the 2020 presidential election that were slapped with misinformation labels actually spread more, a new study revealed.
The study, published Tuesday, was conducted by researchers at New York University. The researchers concluded that tweets from former president Trump that were flagged by Twitter for containing election fraud claims, published between November 1 and January 8, “spread further and longer than unlabeled tweets.”
Another censorship method Twitter used was blocking users from engaging with tweets, a move the researchers said: “effectively limited their spread.” But that also did not work so effectively as the content of the tweets would appear on other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit.
However, the study did not draw a clear line between the further spread of the tweets and Twitter’s labels.
“These observational data do not enable us to determine whether this finding is a selection effect (i.e., Twitter intervened on posts that were more likely to spread) or causal (Twitter’s intervention increased their spread),” the researchers wrote in a summary of the findings.
“It nonetheless provides valuable descriptive evidence of the broad cross-platform diffusion of messages that Twitter had flagged as containing election-related misinformation.”