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Twitter Deceptively Rehashes Old Fact-Checks to Counter Maricopa County Audit Hearing

(AP Photo/Matt York)

On Thursday, an Arizona Senate hearing on the Maricopa County election audit took place and Twitter did its part to ensure that its users knew that the evidence presented was all bunk.

If you were on Twitter on Thursday, you might have seen prominently displayed in the sidebar under “What’s Happening” a note saying: “There is no evidence of widespread fraud in Maricopa County’s 2020 presidential election results, according to election officials and fact-checkers.”

Are these the same fact-checkers who determined that claims that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were a conspiracy theory? I’m asking for a friend.

If you clicked through, you were given a brief list of things “you need to know.”

What you need to know
  •  Arizona Republicans held a hearing on the audit on July 15, in which they said they needed more election material and data to continue, according to AZ Central.
  • Republicans hired private firm Cyber Ninjas to aid in the audit.
  • In May, Cyber Ninjas falsely claimed to have encountered deleted databases, according to multiple fact-checkers.

Under this, you were given some fact-checks disputing that any fraud took place in Maricopa County. So if you saw this headline, you might have assumed that brand new fact-checks were debunking the findings presented in the hearing. Except these weren’t new. It turns out that Twitter’s decision to put this up as the hearing was underway was incredibly deceptive.

When you review the “fact-checks” linked by Twitter during the hearing, they were all from earlier this year, such as FactCheck.org’s May 15 article and PolitiFact’s May 9 article.

What do these fact-checks have to do with the hearing on Thursday, July 15? Zero. FactCheck.org’s article involved a social media rumor that wasn’t true about secret watermarks on ballots. PolitiFact covered another social media rumor that the audit had uncovered 250,000 new votes for Trump, which was also untrue. The article did note, however, that “The audit is ongoing. No preliminary findings have been released.”

So, obviously, neither of these fact-checks had any bearing on the July 15 hearing, as the hearing discussed actual evidence uncovered by the audit team, not months old social media rumors. So, why did Twitter rehash these old fact-checks? The answer is obvious: to cast doubt on the evidence presented in the hearing.

There have been articles that have attacked Cyber Ninjas and noted that past recounts found no fraud in Maricopa County. But we’ve recently seen evidence that hand recounts can’t exactly be trusted. For example, an analysis of Georgia’s hand recounts claimed that it “was riddled with massive errors and provable fraud.” So, sorry, we can’t trust hand recounts alone.

Nice try, Twitter, but you’re busted.