Social media bans, restrictions have mixed impact on potential misinformation following Capitol riot

By | January 25, 2021
hand holding smartphone showing decline sign
(Michigan News)

The amount of potential misinformation was impacted on at least one social media platform following actions to suspend or shut down thousands of accounts, including President Donald Trump’s, following the Capitol riot Jan. 6, according to a University of Michigan measure of iffy content.

Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 13, the U-M Center for Social Media Responsibility’s Iffy Quotient on Twitter fell from 14.8% to 11.5%, while on Facebook it went from 10.9% to 11.6%. This means that fewer URLs from iffy sites made the top 5,000 most popular URLs on Twitter in the immediate days after the platform took action to ban the president permanently and suspend some 70,000 user accounts.

The center’s Iffy Quotient, produced in partnership with NewsWhip and NewsGuard, measures the fraction of the most popular URLs on Facebook and Twitter that come from iffy sites that often publish misinformation. NewsWhip determines the most popular URLs each day, while NewsGuard provides website ratings, with Media Bias/Fact Check providing ratings for sites unrated by NewsGuard.