The New York Times raised eyebrows on Thursday over an op-ed that analyzes President Trump’s tweets, specifically the typos, as a way to spread disinformation.
Emily Dreyfuss, a journalist at the Harvard Shorenstein Center’s Technology and Social Change project wrote a piece with the headline, “Trump’s Tweeting Isn’t Crazy. It’s Strategic, Typos and All,” which delves into tweets the president made leading up to the election.
She pointed to one from October 30, which was “#BidenCrimeFamiily,” highlighting the extra “i” in “family.”
“#BidenCrimeFamily, and the typo, is a crash course in how to rally supporters around a conspiracy theory — while neutering the attempts of social media companies to stop it. Mr. Trump has used this same tactic to sow doubt about mail-in ballots and the integrity of the election,” Dreyfuss wrote. “It’s effective because it’s simple. The hashtag took a complicated issue with legitimate questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings with Ukraine and China — and reduced it to a slogan that could also be used to spread falsehoods about Joe Biden… And Mr. Trump’s typo? It was surely not accidental. That extra ‘i’ circumvented Twitter’s efforts to hide the hashtag in search results. Called #typosquatting, this tactic is often used by trolls and media manipulators to get around the rules of social media platforms.”
While attempting to downplay allegations surrounding Hunter Biden’s alleged financial ties overseas while his father was in office, Dreyfuss outlined the social media history of the “Biden Crime Family” slogan and highlighted Twitter’s efforts to remove it from the platform.
“That’s why it’s crucial to find ways to break the circuit of disinformation. Sometime between Oct. 14 and Oct. 16, Twitter tried,” Dreyfuss wrote. “While users could still tweet the hashtag #BidenCrimeFamily, Twitter stopped showing any results if the hashtag was clicked or searched. This strategy, called de-indexing, is a step short of censorship, and can be a powerful tool in reducing a hashtag’s ability to spread specific disinformation and to become a rallying place for coordinating action. Twitter did not respond to questions about this action.”
Dreyfuss also noted the #BidenCrimeFamiily” hashtag with the typo was also used by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza and pro-Trump actress Kirstie Alley.
Promoting the op-ed on Twitter, the Times Opinion account tweeted, “One of Trump’s tweets looked like it had a typo. In fact, it was probably code to his most extreme supporters.”
That sparked ridicule on social media.
“The Q York Times,” Daily Caller’s Greg Price quipped, alluding to the far-right conspiracy theory group Qanon.
“The NYT and others spent months hyping up some civil war style violence and when it didn’t arrive they gotta move the goal posts to keep the clicks going to the quickly-inflating TDS audience,” journalist Zaid Jilani slammed the paper.
“But people wondering about voter fraud are the conspiracy theorists,” conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey wrote.
Daily Wire contributing editor Harry Khachatrian turned the tables on the Times, highlighting six letters from its tweet that spell out “Hitler.”
“Wow, why is the New York Times encoding such hateful messages in its tweets?” Khachatrian jokingly asked.