Object 1: Trump Tweet

May 26, 2021


Figure 1: Trump Tweet

Prior American president Donald Trump claimed that in the 2020 elections he won via his public Twitter account. Trump’s highly publicised knowledge claim was proven false by professionals and news institutions, however it was perceived reliable by some or prompted questioning of reliability by others. This object exemplifies how the public’s judgement of the reliability of knowledge claims communicated through technology can be impacted by authority, the existence of multiple sources and absence of fact checking.

While searching for reliability through the dissemination of knowledge, knowers often rely on authority associated with the communicator of knowledge. A claim communicated through social media may not be reliable, however pre-existing knowledge of a claim’s producer can impact the perceived reliability of the tweet. Donald trump was elected the president of United States and his twitter account was a verified account suggesting reliability. While it was officially announced that Biden won the by official sources which provided statistical evidence eg. guardian,Trump’s claim maybe believed as true by readers of both claims, specifically those who support him and thus are emotionally attached to him.

Knowers’ judgements of a single claim’s reliability can be affected by the existence of other supporting or contradictory claims. Fact checking measures reliability through gathering evidence or using external claims to support a claim. Trump’s tweet and knowledge claim was contradicted by leading news outlets who claimed he didn’t win the public vote with official statistical evidence. A scenario of confusion was caused where the public had to chose whether to perceive Trump or the newspapers’ claims as more reliable, regardless of which was actually more reliable. Perceived reliability is influenced by reason such as the newspaper but faith and emotion especially support for Trump also play a factor. The existence of contradictory claims can highlight how perceived reliability is not always dependent upon rational evidence or supporting claims, and further how the judgements can change in different contexts and communication mediums. Despite empowering individuals, this is dangerous when potentially harmful claims are perceived as reliable when they are actually not.

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