Toxic misinformation has continued reaching new heights in 2020. One sign of that? “Birtherism” misinformation about Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, now exceeds that about President Barack Obama at its peak in 2017, according to a new analysis.
Lies that Ms. Harris was not born American (she was) and is therefore not eligible for the vice presidency spiked last month in the week after Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced her as his running mate, according to Zignal Labs, a media insights company. Mentions of the falsehood soared to 103,400 that week across social media and TV broadcasts.
That was higher than the volume of birtherism misinformation about Mr. Obama in the week after President Trump renewed questions about his predecessor’s birthplace in 2017, Zignal Labs said. Those mentions rose to 98,100 that week.
Ms. Harris, a daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, was born in 1964 in Oakland, Calif. A spokeswoman for the senator did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Birtherism misinformation about Ms. Harris has become the fifth-highest election misinformation topic by volume since January, according to Zignal Labs. The topics that have surpassed it were falsehoods about voting by mail; Bill and Hillary Clinton; George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor; and vaccines.