When Donald Trump and his allies pushed the “big lie” of voter fraud and a stolen election, it seemed nothing could stop them spreading disinformation with impunity.
Politicians and activists’ pleas fell on deaf ears. TV networks and newspapers fact-checked in vain. Social media giants proved impotent.
But now a little-known tech company, founded 18 years ago in Canada, has the conspiracy theorists running scared. The key: suing them for defamation, potentially for billions of dollars.
“Libel laws may prove to be a very old mechanism to deal with a very new phenomenon of massive disinformation,” said Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist. “We have all these fact checkers but lots of people don’t care. Nothing else seems to work, so maybe this will.”
The David in this David and Goliath story is Dominion Voting Systems, an election machine company named after Canada’s Dominion Elections Act of 1920. Its main offices are in Toronto and Denver and it describes itself as the leading supplier of US election technology. It says it serves more than 40% of American voters, with customers in 28 states.