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Twitter's election news fact checkers, Media Matters, and QAnon - all unreliable sources of information

It’s interesting what passes for journalism and fact checking these days.

The following tweet is from Alex Kaplan, a Senior Researcher at Media Matters. It sounds really bad. A QAnon man killed his wife and dog, shot his daughter, and shot at police.

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Is it true? Yes, the event took place according to news reports. Was the murderer a ‘QAnon dad’ conspiracy nut? We don’t know, and apparently Alex Kaplan doesn’t either. Only time, and real journalism, will tell.

So how did we find this? Twitter is super helpful at helping its users find the best factual information, you know. We clicked the ‘Explore’ link, navigated to ‘US Elections’, and finally clicked ‘Fact-Checkers’ – Twitter’s ‘list of fact-checkers and accounts dedicated to misinformation in English’.

That description may be more true than they realize.

Screenshot showing navigation to Twitter's Election News Fact Checkers

The account being retweeted by the Media Matters guy, who focuses ‘on social media misinfo/disinfo & online extremism’, doesn’t exactly seem to be sure of the QAnon connection to the murder either.

That’s right, the only evidence linking the murderer to QAnon at this point seems to be a Reddit that was posted by a brand new user a little more than an hour AFTER the article was published by Detroit media.

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Again, the Reddit post may actually be the person whose father went postal, and he may well have been a Q conspiracy nut, but why is a Media Matters ‘misinformation’ specialist putting out these claims with such shaky corroboration? More importantly, why is Twitter directing its users to ‘Fact-Checkers’ who traffic in such shoddy reporting?

Some are questioning the story. Most others are just accepting it, as presented.

There seems to be confusion about which was posted first. Here are the timestamps from the article and the Reddit post.

News article with timestamp of 9/11/2022 at 8:37 AM

Reddit post with timestamp of 9/11/2022 at 9:44 AM

Clearly, and that’s fine, but the Media Matters ‘journalist’ is sharing this unverified story as though it has been verified.

I think we know why.

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When it comes to ‘Fact Checkers’, it doesn’t appear Twitter and Media Matters is sending their best.

UPDATE:

The incident in question has now been verified to be true. While this does not change the point that it was being shared on Twitter as true, by those who claim to be battling misinformation, before it was verified, we want to provide you the full, final context now that the journalistic effort to verify the story is complete. See the link shared with us below.

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Editor’s Note:

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