Tech companies of all shapes and sizes are apparently taking note of what happens when you let rampant misinformation, or conspiracy theories, flourish on your platform and don’t do anything about it. This week, GoFundMe quickly pulled the plug on a popular campaign that had raised more than $US200,000 ($275,560) to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
You’ve probably seen Donald Trump supporters standing in front of ballot-counting facilities demanding that authorities “stop the count,” and you’ve probably seen similar pro-Trump groups in different states demanding that authorities “count every vote!” While it’s only been two days since the election count began, those slogans have already morphed...Read more
The fundraiser launched on Thursday — a day in which the country was still pretty jittery because the election hadn’t been called yet — and claimed to want to investigate supposed voter fraud in several battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to Mashable. The outlet reported that on Friday, the campaign had raised at least $US219,305 ($302,158) of its $US250,000 ($344,450) goal from roughly 3,700 donors.
But later that day, GoFundMe took down the campaign. A GoFundMe spokesperson told Gizmodo that the fundraiser violated its terms of service.
Contrary to what President Donald Trump claims, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
“This fundraiser attempts to spread misleading information about the election and has been removed from the platform. All donors have been fully refunded,” the spokesperson said.
The effort was launched by Matt Braynard, a former member of Trump’s campaign data team. At the time of publication of this blog, Braynard had moved the effort to GiveSendGo, a free Christian crowdfunding platform. His “Voter Fraud Investigation Fund” fundraiser had raised more than $US270,000 ($372,006) of its $US500,000 ($688,900) goal from more than 4,000 donors.
Braynard’s campaign wasn’t the only effort to raise money to stop or investigate supposed voter fraud. Gizmodo identified two other GoFundMe fundraisers — one that raised more than $US69,000 ($95,068) and the other that raised more than $US2,200 ($3,031) — that had received donations in recent days that were focused on stopping imaginary ballot harvesting.
Yesterday afternoon, Facebook removed the “Stop the Steal” group page that amassed over 300,000 members in the aftermath of Election Day. The pro-Trump, pro-conspiracy theory page was being used for organising national protests to claim without evidence that the election is being stolen from Donald Trump. Immediately, other Stop the...Read more
Gizmodo has asked GoFundMe why these campaigns were not taken down. We’ll update this story if we hear back.
Although the election is over, the storm of misinformation has still not subsided. With Trump still refusing to concede the race to President-Elect Joe Biden and falsely stating that “bad things happened” that influenced the results, it’ll be more important than ever to ensure that lies don’t get amplified.