All the US midterm-related lies to expect when you're electing

Trending 10 months ago

Misinformation related to tomorrow's US midterm elections hasn't slowed, according to information researchers. 

This includes much misleading predetermination ads connected Google, arsenic good "alternate facts" astir voting systems manufacturers, each of which intends to formed uncertainty connected predetermination results, according to 2 reports published today. 

Lies astir voting machines developed by nan large 3 successful nan section — Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software, and Smartmatic — see nan thought that these 3 manufacturers' machines will beryllium utilized to falsify nan 2022 midterm predetermination results are already circulating, according to nan study from information intelligence firm, Recorded Future.

"Misinformation and disinformation targeting these companies will almost surely proceed to beryllium generated from existing predetermination denialist cohorts connected nan governmental right," according to a study [PDF]. States seeing nan astir voting instrumentality disinformation will apt beryllium Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Florida.

Additionally, nan "vast majority" of lies astir voting machines travel from wrong nan US, alternatively than from overseas sources, according to nan report, echoing an earlier dossier astir alleged "pink-slime newsrooms" spending millions of dollars connected societal media successful nan lead up to nan 2022 midterms. These are hyper-partisan publications dressed up arsenic independent location media that push netizens to evidently biased articles.

Recorded Future's researchers do, however, expect "a alteration successful nan strength of specified efforts" compared to 2020 "due to nan absence of erstwhile president Donald Trump from nan ballot," and nan truth that midterms don't usually get arsenic overmuch attraction — and frankincense arsenic galore fake-news stories — arsenic statesmanlike elections.

The large 3 voting machines

Dominion, which supplies voting exertion for much than 1,200 jurisdictions crossed nan US for tomorrow's midterms, has sued Fox News, Newsmax Media, One America News, Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Patrick Byrne and Rudy Giuliani to extremity nan dispersed of disinformation that nan shaper says has "severely damaged our institution and diminished nan credibility of US elections."

Despite nan company's ineligible efforts arsenic good arsenic validation from CISA, nan FBI and nan US Director of National Intelligence, nan study cited mendacious claims astir rigged 2022 elections crossed Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Gab, Patriots.win and, of course, 4chan.

Some of this disinformation comes from Russian propaganda outlets including Red Spring Information Agency and nan Centre for Research connected Globalization, according to Recorded Future's findings.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), meanwhile, will supply machines for "thousands" of jurisdictions tomorrow, "including a important number successful humanities plaything states and existent hotbeds of predetermination disinformation Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida," nan study adds.

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While ES&S is not arsenic celebrated a target arsenic Dominion aliases Smartmatic, nan study authors noted Big-Lie related misinformation astir nan shaper carrying complete into tomorrow's midterms. This includes a partisan Gateway Pundit article claiming that ES&S machines successful Alabama accepted "xeroxed" copies of charismatic ballots.

And though California's Los Angeles County will beryllium nan only US jurisdiction to usage Smartmatric voting exertion successful nan November midterms, LA's size and prominence, coupled pinch gerrymandering allegations, person already contributed to clone news stories claiming nan manufacturers machines will beryllium utilized to falsify predetermination results across  Patriots.win, Gab, 4chan, Trump's Truth Social, and Telegram, according to nan report. 

"Most of these claims are made nether nan mendacious presumption that Smartmatic is simply a subsidiary aliases contractor of Dominion Voting Systems, which administers elections crossed galore much jurisdictions than Smartmatic," it said.

Recorded Future besides cited a September 25 article by a caller media outlet called Semafor alleging that Smartmatic is presently nan taxable of a US Department of Justice investigation focused connected perchance corrupt business practices successful nan Philippines successful 2016. The information shop said it has not been capable to find immoderate reliable sources to corroborate immoderate specified DOJ investigation.

"As successful 2020, it is besides apt that conspiracy theorists will insist that Smartmatic exertion was utilized successful different jurisdictions wherever favored candidates lose, specified arsenic those jurisdictions that usage Dominion hardware," according to nan report. 

Hey, Google, why nan misleading ads?

As if this isn't enough, different investigation, this 1 by nan non-profit Tech Transparency Project (TTP), claims Google is still serving up misleading ads successful English and Spanish contempt its earlier pledges to supply meticulous accusation astir voting.

TTP searched Google for voting- and election-related terms, utilizing a clean, logged retired type of nan Google Chrome browser to debar biasing results, and queried each word successful English and Spanish connected 3 different virtual backstage networks to make it look that nan searches originated successful Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

The watchdog statement past recorded each advertisement connected nan first 10 pages of hunt results for a full of 291 ads. Of nan 291 ads, 27 directed users to alleged hunt arbitrage sites pinch low-quality hunt results that advertise connected Google to make clicks. 

"For example, erstwhile a personification searched for 'Register to ballot successful Arizona,' Google served an advertisement that read, 'How Do I Register To Vote In AZ - Find Results Now.' But nan advertisement took nan personification to an ad-filled hunt page connected gopher.com, not a elector registration site," nan study noted.

TTP besides recovered Google queries directing voters to sites that complaint users to cheque their registration status, which is free work connected respective state and non-profit websites. This included nan Florida-based "user's" hunt for "Registro de votantes" ("Register to vote"), which pulled up an advertisement that said "Registros De Votantes – Solo Ingresa El Nombre" ("Register to Vote – Just Enter nan Name").

This advertisement directed nan personification to a website called PublicRecordsReviews that requested a name, which past redirected to different tract called TruthFinder that required nan personification to participate much information. And "only astatine nan very extremity of nan process did nan tract pass nan personification they person to salary $23 to $28 to cheque if they're registered to vote," TTP wrote.

Incidentally, it turns retired TruthFinder is nan taxable of hundreds of complaints lodged pinch nan Better Business Bureau, including much than 300 complaints successful nan past 3 years. 

Today's study follows a 2020 investigation by TTP that recovered Google was trading ads to likewise scammy advertisers successful hunt results for position for illustration "register to vote" and "vote by mail." 

"Google still hasn't dedicated nan basal resources to responsibly o.k. ads for moreover nan astir basal searches astir voting," Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said successful a statement. Campaign for Accountability runs TTP.

"If Google can't profit from searches for predetermination accusation responsibly," Kuppersmith continued, "it shouldn't beryllium profiting astatine all." ®