Social media companies can hardly claim to be caught off guard by the flood of falsehoods posted online as we head toward the midterm elections. It is, after all, some six years since the reach and amount of misinformation was first exposed in the 2016 presidential vote. So, if you were a schoolteacher and the companies were your students, how would you grade them on handling misinformation this time around?

If you are of the mindset that the companies have had plenty of time to get their act together, you might be tempted to flunk them across the board. If you see misinformation as an insurmountable problem, you might be tempted to grade a little more leniently.

We asked three social media experts – University of Arizona’s Dam Hee Kim, Michigan State University’s Anjana Susarla and Indiana University’s Scott Shackelford – to grade Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. Their nuanced and informed views produced a range of grades, but clear distinctions among the companies’ results emerged.

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Eric Smalley

Science + Technology Editor

The process of conducting elections has become a focal point for misinformation. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Experts grade Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube on readiness to handle midterm election misinformation

Dam Hee Kim, University of Arizona; Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University; Scott Shackelford, Indiana University

Misinformation has bedeviled social media companies for years, and the problem is especially consequential during elections. Are the companies up to the job as the 2022 midterm elections approach?

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