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Boos in Beauceville: False Facebook posts highlight online misinformation about Quebec elections

It was a simple screen grab of a text message posted to a popular Facebook group.

“Today Lego was in Beauceville. He went to a restaurant and everyone was booing and yelling at him!” the text said in French.

“He had to leave before he could eat.”

The post, which was shared more than 1,000 times and received nearly as many comments, had many people in the restaurant applauding as they repeated the phrase “Dehors la CAQ” (Stop CAQ).

Except it didn’t happen.

François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, was indeed at a restaurant in Beauceville on August 29th, but he wasn’t booed or left in a hurry.

This post is one of many on social media that is misleading or downright false, with real-world consequences for both those who read it and those involved in the event.

Posts shared widely on Facebook

The screen grab was posted to the LibreChoix Facebook group the day after Legault was in Beauceville for a campaign event.

Led by Carl Giroux, the group has amassed over 55,000 followers to date.

Giroux did not respond to numerous interview requests.

He is a prolific poster, often live-streaming on his page via his mobile phone to speak out against pandemic-related restrictions such as QR codes and mask mandates.

More recently, however, he has backed Eric Duheim and the Conservative Party of Quebec.

In Beauceville’s post about Legault, some questioned whether the post was true, while others found the name of the restaurant and posted it.

“A week after Mr. Legault came, a customer of my business asked me, ‘I have a question. Is that true?'” said Sanika Puckett, owner of the restaurant Le Normandie Saboureur. .

“No! Every time I tell them, ‘Tell others it’s not true!'”

Legault was in town with Luc Provençal, a CAQ candidate for Beauce-Nord riding, and was hailed by the cheers of partygoers.

“I think it’s completely false and disappointing because it always says negative things. That’s not how we move forward in society,” Provencal said.

“one time [a false post] Hard to start, hard to stop. ”

François Legault was greeted by a party of loyalty at a restaurant in Beauceville. (Radio Canada)

The wider story of false posts

False or misleading photos, videos and memes are posted online every day. Matthew Lavigne, director of the Quebec Election Misinformation Project at McGill University’s Center for Media, Technology and Democracy, says the phenomenon magnifies during elections but doesn’t necessarily have an impact.

“If you look online for misinformation, you’ll find it, but it doesn’t tend to have a major impact on elections in general or election results,” he said.

Misinformation seems to stay within small online communities and not necessarily reach the general public, Lavigne said. Still, he says, false or misleading posts are more likely to be believed if they align with existing beliefs.

“There are people in the echo chamber who are constantly consuming this kind of information,” he says.

“Individuals should be very careful about the information they consume and try to avoid psychological bias.”

But it’s not just personal responsibility, says Lavigne. Social media platforms and politicians also play a role.

Facebook’s parent company Meta takes misinformation seriously and says it will remove posts that violate community standards or advertising policies.

We also launched a third-party fact-checking program in 2016. In Canada, the program is operated by Agence France-Presse.

However, false posts will not be deleted.

“We want to strike a balance between allowing people to have a say and promoting an environment of authenticity. If so, we will reduce distribution on feeds and other surfaces,” wrote Mehta.

Boos in Beauceville: False Facebook posts highlight online misinformation about Quebec elections

Source link Boos in Beauceville: False Facebook posts highlight online misinformation about Quebec elections

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