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Facebook’s struggle with Gateway Pundit highlights challenge of containing disinformation

The Gateway Pundit (TGP) is an American far-right fake news website.

Gateway Pundit, a fake news site, has used its Facebook page – with more than 630,000 followers – to post false news that the 2020 election was rigged in former President Donald Trump. Some commenters responded by threatening with violence.

The struggle of Facebook and Gateway Pundit highlights the challenge of unintentional content.

After Gateway Pundit posted a June article on Facebook that included allegations of voter fraud in Arizona, a spokesman said the governor and secretary of state should be “fed first with the crowd.” A story with false allegations of vote-rigging in Fulton County, Georgia, has surfaced on Facebook asking an election official to be hanged or “shot in revolt.”

For many years, Facebook imposed sanctions on the Gateway Pundit account to limit the distribution of false information. But Gateway Pundit is still using its Facebook page to boost its reporting and revenue growth: The page includes a prominent appeal asking readers to purchase subscriptions in support of the “war on survival.”

The continued presence of Gateway Pundit on Facebook reflects the struggle for a global platform to stop the spread of new information and to balance police performance with content and concerns about free speech. Facebook has received a lot of criticism this year from critics and the whistleblower of the company which says its practices create anger and division to increase user engagement.

The Gateway Pundit (TGP) is an American far-right fake news website.

In a statement, Facebook said it wanted to record false information and “reduce its spread,” using fact-checking and artificial intelligence to identify false or misleading information and readers trying to share it. Facebook has said repeat offenders, such as Gateway Pundit, are subject to severe penalties, including having their posts pushed under the user’s feed feed (list of posts they see), and being banned from Facebook content development services.

But Facebook almost never removes annoying posts or closes pages – that happens in rare cases, such as posts that push COVID false information, the company said. Sites that directly threaten violence can also be shut down, but account holders are charged with commenting on their pages.
Twitter has taken a very aggressive approach with Gateway Pundit, permanently suspending the @ gatewaypundit account of Jim Hoft, the founder and editor of the site, and the account of his twin brother, Joe Hoft, author.

Jim Hoft declined to comment; Joe Hoft did not respond to requests for comment
Facebook and Twitter are both slammed by politicians who rely on the right for what they call consecutive word research. Jim Hoft testified at the 2018 conference forum that the popularity of his website from Facebook had decreased after the forum imposed restrictions on the distribution of Pundit content, saying such sanctions made “book burning” look worse.

However Gateway Pundit traffic is booming: After the 2020 elections, it increased to nearly 50 million visits a month, according to some estimates, indicating the potential for viral disinformation. It has found that electoral fraud claims often circulated on the site have been quoted in more than 100 threatening or abusive messages sent to election officials since last November.

Facebook has long recognized Gateway Pundit as a source of false and divisive content. An internal report in July 2019 about “false information and potential risks” listed this domain as one of Facebook’s “common misinfo criminals”. The report was in the archives provided by the U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress are Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who left the company in May and has become a major public critic of its practices.

It has identified 12 Gateway Pundit stories on Facebook that contain baseless allegations of electoral fraud, two of which were posted on Facebook containing false information. In less than four of those stories, nine Facebook users have called for the killing of election officials or officials. Only one of those four stories was marked by Facebook for containing false information.

In August, Gateway Pundit reported that a Milwaukee official was intimidated after being exposed in Pundit news allegations of voter fraud. The result? Additional threats. On the website’s Facebook page, one reader commented: “There is only one acceptable punishment for traitors, dragging and splitting.”

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