The sources of misinformation that thrived in Parler

What is misinformation?

I occasionally browsed Parler while crawling it, and was fascinated by its “billionaire conspiracies”. In such a conspiracy, a billionaire is involved in some reprehensible secret activity, such as this video about Bill Gates shared over 72,000 times on Facebook. The spurious argument is that a multi-billionaire could apply his knowledge of computer viruses and their antivirus software toward creating human viruses and the corresponding vaccine. The comment section is a war zone between those who subscribe to the theory and those who find it ridiculous.

Most Parler users are highly critical of Bill Gates, but I didn’t have the means to classify all posts into positive/negative sentiments. It is possible (although extremely unlikely) that there is some Parley out there where a user is simply sharing the humanitarian achievements of the Gates Foundation.
The monthly word cloud of hashtags on posts that reference Bill Gates in any way.
A couple lines of Wolfram Language code generated the GIF above.

Misinformation is constantly adapting

This was a popular post on Parler from September 26th, 2020. As I mentioned in part 1, I will not be publishing any usernames or helping you find who wrote this.

Dr. Scott Atlas’ appearances on Fox News are marked by red vertical lines. I had to search the Fox News website to collect these dates, so there may have been other appearances that were not labeled. The green line on the right is the day he resigned from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Misinformation videos that inspire violence

From anecdotal browsing experience, I would see a good amount of outrage in the comments associated with posts that had a video. I first filtered my dataset for posts linking to videos that contained violent hashtags, or whose average comment had a very negative sentiment when passed into AWS Comprehend. I have not evaluated the Comprehend piece thoroughly, but adding/removing it does not significantly change the results.

I wrote a function named ViolentQ (honoring the naming scheme of the Wolfram Language) which first checks for violent hashtag patterns, then passes the post body into AWS Comprehend if a match is not found.
Videos that provoke angry/hateful responses are primarily hosted by these two companies.
Due to the amount of overlap between video topics on BitChute and YouTube, there is no easy way to separate them in this rendering. However, it becomes clear that videos on QAnon, Sidney Powell’s efforts to “release the kraken”, and the far-right militia group Proud Boys, are predominately shared on Rumble.

The Pirate Bay

The popular file-sharing website ThePirateBay allows anyone on the Internet to download the plans for a 3D-printable single-shot handgun. Despite significant controversy and US government intervention, TPB defended their decision to host the information.



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