What was the most significant surprise you arrived across in your reporting?
I was truly stunned to discover that Mr. Coomer experienced expressed robust anti-Trump sentiments, using powerful language, on his Facebook page. His options were these kinds of that only his Facebook buddies could see it, but someone took a screenshot of all those and other divisive posts, and appropriate-wing media circulated them greatly. The posts have been utilized in the spread of what cybersecurity gurus simply call malinformation — one thing true that is employed to support the dissemination of a tale that is false. In this case, it was the major lie that the election was rigged. I feel to recognize the unfold of spurious facts — to resist its lure, to combat it off — these distinctions are practical to parse. Understanding the human charge of these strategies also issues. We listened to a whole lot about the attacks on Dominion, but there are authentic people with real lives who are becoming battered in a fight they had no intention of signing up for, no matter what their private opinions.
There ended up so a lot of elaborate theories of election fraud involving Dominion. How important were being the accusations towards Eric Coomer in that larger story?
It is really hard to say. But Progress Democracy Inc., a nonpartisan nonprofit, appeared at the tweets in its databases from QAnon-relevant accounts and observed that, from Nov. 1 to Jan. 7, Eric Coomer’s title appeared in 25 p.c of the types that outlined Dominion. Coomer believes the attacks on Dominion ended up fairly unavoidable but deemed his own purpose as “an accelerant.”
Trump’s Bid to Subvert the Election
Why did so a lot consideration focus on Dominion Voting Programs, as opposed to its competitors?
I’m not certain any one entirely understands that proper now. But they occurred to be intensely represented in swing states that went for Mr. Biden, this sort of as Arizona, Michigan and Ga. Election experts say that the elections went terribly properly, for the most component, particularly given that there were being file numbers of mail-in ballots thanks to Covid. But there were being two scenarios, in areas that employed Dominion voting equipment, where election officials built modest issues (and skipped the vital ways that would have caught people faults). Individuals, also, became fuel for subsequent malinformation strategies. And then the Coomer tale was amplified, much too.
So is this story a cautionary tale about social media?
I think a lot of people today have taken it that way. But to me, it is a scenario study in how a single details place, which proved practically nothing, was taken, manipulated and transmitted with good pace, alongside several channels of ideal-wing media, right until it achieved the attorneys of the president of the United States, who were determined for nearly anything to delegitimize Joe Biden’s winning the election.