Democratic presidential candidate O’Rourke went live with a campaign that demands tech giants such as Twitter, Facebook and Google to counter disinformation on their platforms. The candidate’s team outlined how relatable that argument is, after false accusations of a suspected shooter on social media, linked to O’Rourke’s campaign last weekend.
The tragic shooting took place in Odessa, Texas. Seven people were killed and 25 got injured. Later on, bots spread a false information that the shooter was Beto O’Rourke’s supporter. Posts online suggested that he had an O’Rourke sticker on his car. Later on, Texas officials denied any link between O’Rourke and the shooter.
O’Malley Dillon, a former executive director of the Democratic National Convention went on a rampage on Twitter, stating the original post has been identified. It was published from an account that had been suspended and later reinstated. Currently, the tweet is still live and has over 15k favorites and nearly 11k retweets.
“As a campaign, we’re almost entirely powerless to stop misinformation. We can tweet corrections, but only a fragment of the people exposed will see it. This rests on Twitter, Facebook, and Google who let this go completely unchecked.” O’Malley Dillon wrote in a tweet.
O’Rourke’s campaign strategists sent an open letter to Twitter, asking the platform to take down fake accounts that shared the original tweet. The letter demanded “no matter the purpose or intention, every time a propagandistic tweet, disseminated by a bot campaign, is posted, the fake accounts responsible for its amplification should be removed from the platform without any delay.”
Twitter declined commenting on the subject.
O’Malley called out Twitter to come up with ideas to “end this epidemic of disinformation”.
The false news linking Beto O’Rourke to the Odessa shooting got viral on Facebook, too. O’Malley took the pledge to write to the tech giant demanding to identify and remove any posts from inauthentic accounts.
Facebook claimed they have deemed the misinformative posts false, having the platform reduce their distribution in news feeds. Users engaged in sharing the post will be sent a notification that they’ve gone through fact-check.