After new Twitter owner Elon Musk fired a significant portion of the company's staff, election researchers are bracing for a slew of misinformation to hit the platform ahead of the midterms, Reuters reported Tuesday.
These researchers studied the dialogue on Twitter and found that "threats, offensive language, and false rumors of election fraud have been circulating widely," per Reuters. One common narrative stated that delays in vote counting are a result of fraud, a notion FactCheck.org reported as false.
Reuters highlighted a press briefing from Common Cause, a non-partisan organization aimed at monitoring social media for misinformation. Jesse Littlewood, the group's vice president for campaigns, said that misleading posts about the election were spreading on both Twitter and Facebook.
Littlewood added, "We know that disinformation will spike after Election Day." While Twitter users are able to report false or misleading posts, Littlewood said the company's layoffs had already caused a "big slowdown" in responses to those reports.
Twitter responded in a statement, "It has taken Twitter much longer than normal to adjudicate if these tweets violate their policies." Per Reuters, tweets that were reported on Friday were still marked as "under review" as of Monday.
Eddie Perez, a board member of the election security nonprofit OSET Institute, also told Reuters that Musk's urging of a GOP-led Congress was also causing divisions. "If the billionaire owner of Twitter is supporting one side, users may give credence to false claims simply because they may be aligned with his apparent preferences," Perez said.