The Most Dominant Toxic Election Narratives Online

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For example, a month after Florida passed a law banning classroom discussion or instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity, which Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed in March, the number of tweets falsely linking gay and transgender people to pedophilia rose. .

The language that claimed gay and transgender people “groomed” children for abuse rose 406 percent on Twitter in April, according to a study by the Human Rights Campaign and the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

The story was most widely circulated by 10 far-right figures, including mid-term candidates such as representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, according to the report. Their tweets about “grooming” disinformation were viewed an estimated 48 million times, the report said.

In May, Mrs Boebert tweeted: “A North Carolina kindergarten uses LGBT flag flashcards with a pregnant man to teach children colors. We’ve gone from Reading Rainbow to Randy Rainbow in a few decades, but dare I say the left takes care of our kids!” The tweet was shared nearly 2,000 times and liked nearly 10,000 times.

Ms Boebert and Ms Taylor Greene did not respond to requests for comment.

On Facebook and Instagram, 59 ads also promoted the story that the LGBTQ+ community and allies were “nursing” children, the report found. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, accepted up to $24,987 for the ads, which were shown to users more than 2.1 million times, according to the report.

Meta said it had removed several of the ads mentioned in the report.

“The repeated insistence of ‘groomer’ stories has resulted in a wider anti-LGBT moral panic that has affected state and federal law and is likely to be a major issue in the medium term,” said David Thiel, Stanford technical director. Internet. Observatory, which studies online extremism and disinformation.