The Black community was subject to disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election, and it is continuing for the 2020 election cycle. The goal for this election is not so much spreading disinformation but supressing Black voter turnout.
In 2020, viral content, such as memes, are being used to target the Black community with the intent of making a person feel like there’s no reason to vote.
“The system is broken. Anyone who is a candidate isn’t going to fix it. So why vote?” says NBC News’ April Glaser.
Another tactic deployed is to have influencers that have developed audiences go live on Instagram and tell their audience that voting will not make a difference.
According to Glaser, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are explicitly called out by name when trying to suppress voting. It’s more of a problem for Democrats than it is for Republicans thanks to an “enthusiasm gap” for the candidates.
When asked about what can be done to counter the voter depression effort seen online, Glaser discusses the group Color of Change and what action they are putting forth.
“Color of Change is really a group that is leading the charge here. They are a group that has been critical of the tech platforms for a very long time, particularly Facebook, and how disinformation and hate has run rampant on that platform for so many years,” she explained. “The platform has been unable to eradicate that, and it is still such a big problem.”
“It’s a grassroots effort from Color of Change. Across the country, they have a network of members who are doing kind of ‘Get Out the Vote’ work in their community, but also not just the importance of voting for the president,” she continued. “But really focusing on a lot of these district attorney races where these prosecutors are up for election and can have a significant impact of the criminal justice system locally.”