It’s (still) time to end ‘Trending’ on Twitter
By: Casey Newton
on September 2, 2020 at 6:16 pm
Publication: The Verge – All Posts

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

In August 2019, after the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell, conspiracy theories about what had happened ran rampant on social networks. The theories did not necessarily originate there, but the networks did their part to amplify them, and the confusion that followed was dubbed “the disinformation World Cup.”

At the center of the maelstrom was Twitter, where various baseless theories about Epstein’s death dominated the discussion. One reason why is that enough people tweet the same hashtag on Twitter, it almost always shows up on the app’s tab of “trending topics,” no matter how deranged. During the Epstein mania, for example, #ClintonBodyCount trended, and President Trump — who is known to trawl…

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