An outrageous conspiracy theory vilifying a political candidate. A meme encouraging shots of bleach to fend off COVID-19. An official-looking post falsely announcing that your polling place has moved.
Lies like these seethe on the social media platforms, from Facebook to YouTube to Twitter, where Americans increasingly get their news and information.
These companies say they want to limit dangerous falsehoods while also protecting free speech. But the platforms’ rules on misinformation vary widely. And their policies are often “confusing, unclear, or contradictory,” according to Bill Fitzgerald, a privacy and technology researcher in CR’s Digital Lab.