Authoritative sources are now declaring Joe Biden is the next US president, but that’s unlikely to stop the wild claims and mounting anger of Trump supporters online.
As Hannah Murphy in San Francisco reports, Facebook and Twitter are now struggling to tackle the wave of momentum building around the US president’s claims that the election is being stolen from him.
In the past 24 hours, Facebook has invoked emergency measures to make it harder for users to share posts that contain misleading information, to remove such posts from people’s news feeds, and to restrict the circulation of poll-related livestreams.
On Thursday afternoon, Facebook moved to shut down a “Stop the Steal” group, which had amassed more than 360,000 followers in just a day, saying that it was concerned about calls for violence from some of the group’s members.
Twitter, meanwhile, has permanently banned the account of Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former chief strategist, after he called for the execution of Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray. Social media companies have also been battling a wave of Spanish-language misinformation related to the US presidential election.
With Mr Trump seeing his social media accounts being restricted, he appears to be reverting to traditional media to get his message across. Even there, TV networks cut short coverage of his White House news conference last night as he made unfounded allegations about the validity of the vote.
His relationship with his most supportive TV outlet, Fox News, has also deteriorated after it was first to call the still undecided state of Arizona for Joe Biden. While Rupert Murdoch’s news channel has defined the Trump era like no other, the president often now complains to friends that the media mogul has turned against him, report Alex Barker and Anna Nicolaou.
In recent weeks, rumours have resurfaced that Mr Trump will start his own media network to rival Fox if he leaves the White House. He may need a Trump TV in future to get his message across: Twitter has confirmed to Bloomberg that the era of untrammelled Trump tweets may be over. The special treatment he receives as a world leader, when he violates the company’s rules around offensive or misleading content, will end in January if he loses the presidency.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. Bitcoin passes $15,000
Tech stocks look unlikely to make major gains for a third session currently, but bitcoin is rising again. It has surpassed $15,000 for the first time since a 2017 surge that ended with a crash, more than tripling from the pandemic-induced low it struck in March.
2. Dead M&A’s don’t wear Plaid
The US Justice department smells a rat in the case of Visa’s $5.3bn takeover of fintech group Plaid. It has filed a civil antitrust suit that says Plaid was planning to build a “bank-linked payments network that would compete with Visa” and disrupt its monopoly. Meanwhile, Facebook has been given approval to offer its WhatsApp payments service in India.
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3. Ocado’s US health warning
The UK grocery tech provider has told the US International Trade Commission that halting construction of robot warehouses in America due to a patent dispute “would prevent [its supermarket customer] Kroger from allowing domestic consumers to obtain groceries more safely”. Tom Braithwaite says its seemingly outlandish claim that Ocado saves lives has some merit.
4. ByteDance and Airbnb ready for listings
TikTok’s parent company is in talks to raise $2bn, which would boost its valuation to $180bn, as it simultaneously seeks to avert a US ban on the video app. Kuaishou, the second-largest short video platform in the world, has filed for its IPO in Hong Kong. Airbnb also plans to unveil its financials ahead of its IPO as soon as next Thursday, reports Bloomberg.
5. Uber narrows losses, Peloton pedals on
Ride-sharing service Uber said it narrowed its losses to $1.09bn in the third quarter as countries loosened pandemic travel restrictions. Peloton said it was experiencing “extraordinary demand” from at-home workers for its networked stationary bikes, with subscription revenues growing 133 per cent year-on-year.
Tech tools — Sony PlayStation 5
A day after Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox consoles were reviewed, the verdicts are now in for Sony’s PlayStation 5, which will be available online next Thursday at £450 if you can get hold of one. The main complaints seem to be about its large size and ugly design, but The Verge likes the way games run smoother, load faster, and are “accompanied by a new controller that further immerses you by using adaptive triggers and more subtle vibrations”. Gamesindustry.biz has a good summary of all the reviews.