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If You Can Keep It: NBC, social media, and preserving democracy

The NBC peacock logo is seen on the door to the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
The NBC peacock logo is seen on the door to the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

It’sbeenabout a week sinceNBC fired former RNC Chair Ronna McDanieljust daysafter hiring heras a contributor.

The network drewa ton ofbacklash for thedecision, much ofwhich cameafterit aired an interview withMcDaniel done byMeet the Presshost Kristen Welker.

In that interview, McDaniel was openly critical of the Republican party and reversed course on some claims she madein the yearsafter the 2020 election.

So why was she hired? What happened that led to her departure? And what does this politics-to-pundit pipeline say about the state of our democracy? We examine the role of television networks that the media plays in our elections and governance.

We also take a look at the role social media plays in moderating what kind of political information makes its way to our screens.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced recently it will be shutting down CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring platform, two months before the election. This announcement has led to criticism from journalists and researchers alike, citing concerns about transparency surrounding viral content.

What role does misinformation on social media play in shaping our elections?

A statement from Meta on CrowdTangle and its content moderation policies:

“This announcement expands on years of work on how we approach and treat political content based on what people have told us they wanted. This change does not impact posts from accounts people choose to follow; it impacts what the system recommends. And now, people are going to be able to control whether they would like to have these types of posts recommended to them.”

“Our definition of political content is content likely to be about topics related to government or elections; for example, posts about laws, elections, or social topics. Social topics can include content that identifies a problem that impacts people and is caused by the action or inaction of others.”

“CrowdTangle provided an incomplete picture of what was happening on our platforms. We have built new, more comprehensive tools that enable independent study of key social issues, including elections.”

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Lauren Hamilton, Maya Garg