University of Washington associate professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering Kate Starbird on Thursday released a new data visualization showing how "participatory disinformation" fueled the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"Let's start from the beginning. We have 'elites,' including elected political leaders, political pundits and partisan media outlets, as well as social media influencers who have used disinformation and other tactics to gain reputation and grow large audiences online," she explained.
"We also have their audiences — the social media users and cable news watchers who tune into — and engage with — their content," she continued. "During the lead-up to — and for several months after — the 2020 election, political elites on the 'right' (Trump supporters) repeatedly spread the message of a rigged election. This set an expectation of voter fraud and became a 'frame' through which events were interpreted."
Here is the thread she posted to Twitter:
Working on some visuals to help explain the dynamics of “participatory disinformation” and how that motivated the J… https://t.co/8oVZo3ji7k— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334109.0
We also have their audiences — the social media users and cable news watchers who tune into — and engage with — their content.— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334293.0
An example of one of those messages is this one, from realDonaldTrump, in June 2020: https://t.co/RtXYrOvi2M— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334442.0
We see this w/ the #SharpieGate narrative, as people were initially concerned about Sharpie pens bleeding through (… https://t.co/vu9YAyj0zH— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334628.0
Political elites then echo the false/misleading stories back to their audiences, reinforcing the frame, and buildin… https://t.co/VSAWOgB1H2— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334781.0
Participatory disinformation makes for a powerful dynamic. These tight feedback loops between “elites” and their au… https://t.co/Cckah0JLDc— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620336285.0
My understanding of the dynamics of online misinfo & populist political movements is informed by Ong & Cabañes work… https://t.co/bul2T90Bd0— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620337368.0
These graphs can be misleading, so a little context. This shows a three part structure. The top includes the now su… https://t.co/SvXxXL0UcZ— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620338755.0
If we lower the RT threshold on for the edges (to 3 retweets) we can see the larger audiences cluster around the in… https://t.co/WmShvZy0n4— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620338983.0