Misinformation spikes after Trump reveals he has COVID-19

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By Amanda Seitz and Beatrice Dupuy | Associated Press

CHICAGO — News Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 sparked an explosion of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories that in a matter of hours littered the social media feeds of many Americans.

Tweets shared thousands of times claimed Democrats might have somehow intentionally infected the president with the coronavirus during the debates. Others speculated in Facebook posts that maybe the president was faking his illness. And the news also ignited constant conjecture among QAnon followers, who peddle a baseless belief that Trump is a warrior against a secret network of government officials and celebrities that they falsely claim is running a child trafficking ring.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was swept into an online vortex of coronavirus misinformation and the falsehoods swirling around this polarizing election. Trump himself has driven much of that confusion and distrust on the campaign trail, from his presidential podium and his Twitter account, where he’s made wrong claims about widespread voter fraud or hawked unproven cures for the coronavirus, such as hydroxychloroquine.

“This is both a political crisis weeks before the election and also a health crisis; it’s a perfect storm,” said Alexandra Cirone, an assistant professor at Cornell University who studies the effect of misinformation on government.

Facebook said Friday that it immediately began monitoring misinformation around the president’s diagnosis and had started applying fact checks to some false posts.

Twitter, meanwhile, was monitoring an uptick in “copypasta” campaigns about Trump’s illness. “Copypasta” campaigns are attempts by numerous Twitter accounts to parrot the same phrase over and over to inundate users with messaging, and they are sometimes signals of coordinated activity. The social media company said it was working to

Misinformation spikes as Trump confirms COVID-19 diagnosis

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CHICAGO (AP) — News Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 sparked an explosion of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories that in a matter of hours littered the social media feeds of many Americans.

Tweets shared thousands of times claimed Democrats might have somehow intentionally infected the president with the coronavirus during the debates. Others speculated in Facebook posts that maybe the president was faking his illness. And the news also ignited constant conjecture among QAnon followers, who peddle a baseless belief that Trump is a warrior against a secret network of government officials and celebrities that they falsely claim is running a child trafficking ring.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was swept into an online vortex of coronavirus misinformation and the falsehoods swirling around this polarizing election. Trump himself has driven much of that confusion and distrust on the campaign trail, from his presidential podium and his Twitter account, where he’s made wrong claims about widespread voter fraud or hawked unproven cures for the coronavirus, such as hydroxychloroquine.

“This is both a political crisis weeks before the election and also a health crisis; it’s a perfect storm,” said Alexandra Cirone, an assistant professor at Cornell University who studies the effect of misinformation on government. “This is just one more piece of fake news in an election that’s already seen a high level of fake news.”

Facebook said Friday that it immediately began monitoring misinformation around the president’s diagnosis and had started applying fact checks to some false posts.


Twitter, meanwhile, was monitoring an uptick in “copypasta” campaigns about Trump’s illness. “Copypasta” campaigns are attempts by numerous Twitter accounts to parrot the same phrase over and over to inundate users with messaging, and they are sometimes

Traders say the Softbank ‘whale’ may be back as options activity spikes for Big Tech stocks

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Wall Street traders said that an unusual spike in call options on Thursday shows that Japan’s Softbank may once again be betting on large tech stocks, CNBC’s David Faber reports. 

Multiple sources told Faber that there was $200 million spent on Thursday morning on call options for Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, with the investment bank being the most likely buyer. 

“A number of sources in the derivative markets on major trading markets noting that significant call buying, and they all point to Softbank as being behind it,” Faber said on “Squawk on the Street.” 

Reports by the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and other outlets identified Softbank as the Nasdaq “whale” whose massive options activity led to a boom for major tech stocks in August. The news led to a sell-off in Softbank’s stock in early September as investors worried about the new strategy for the bank and its CEO Masayoshi Son.

Softbank has traditionally invested in the private markets through its Vision Fund, but appears to have shifted some of its focus to public equities after some high-profile moves soured, including its investment in WeWork. 

Call options allow the traders who hold the options to buy a stock at a predetermined strike price, with the bet being that the stock price will rise above the strike price. Unusually large call buying can lead to other traders buying the stock to cover their positions, driving the market price higher. 

August was a banner month for tech stocks, with the Nasdaq 100 rising by 11%. Some of the stocks that saw unusual options activity that month saw even bigger gains. Shares of Apple soared 21.4%, while Tesla’s stock ripped higher by 74%. 

To be sure, sentiment for those two stocks may also have been helped by other factors, including stock