The rise of uncredentialed blogs has increased the rate of how quickly misinformation is spreading to millions across the Internet.
People V. Daystar Peterson
Recently, the harm of its circulation on social media has been happening in real-time during the Tory Lanez — whose real name is Daystar Peterson — trial. The rapper is on the stand yet Megan Thee Stallion has been subject to hate on social media since she came forward to claim that he shot her in July 2020, which he has denied. Within two years, numerous blogs have been a part of sharing posts with unproven accusations such as saying that Megan Thee Stallion is lying and wasn’t shot.
“It’s been very clear, as I’ve seen entertainment and gossip spaces commenting on the case, that she has been set up as someone who is out for herself, lying, and problematic in all these ways,” Catherine Knight Steele, a communications professor at the University of Maryland, told NBC News. “This points to the way that mis- and disinformation, and misogynoir, is trafficked because of its profitability, even in the Black community. It’s profitable for these sites to traffic in the most vile stereotypes about Black women.”
The bloggers have been getting by with their actions but now, the consequences may be catching up.
While jurors for the trial had yet to reach a verdict in the court, multiple blogs posted the false claim that Lanez wasn’t found guilty of the allegations against him.
Others have also pointed out the part that bloggers have played in the potential harm of misinformation.
I'm seeing several hip hop blogs and accounts with followers in the millions reporting a verdict in the Tory Lanez trial while the jury is on their way back in from the court mandated lunch break…this misinformation was already out of hand but now this feels really dangerous. pic.twitter.com/KJu1jUdD7n
— free samples (@gabbybulgarelli) December 22, 2022
While the assault trial will soon reach a verdict, Megan Thee Stallion’s legal team could potentially take legal action against blogs for their part in the spread of misinformation online, NBC reports.
According to the Houston rapper’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, they are “exploring all legal options.” What’s more, her legal counsel “flagged some social media posts from gossip accounts as abusive content.”
With the potential legal action against blogs, bloggers are coming forward to attempt to clear their names.
One of the bloggers that Megan Thee Stallion’s legal team has taken action against is Milagro Gramz. Jordan Siev, one of the rapper’s attorneys, reported seven of the Hip-Hop commentator’s tweets to Twitter. Gramz claimed to NBC News that she wasn’t attempting to “tear anyone down” with her coverage before and during the trial.
“On my end, everything is not going to be something that was intended to be a factual statement,” Gramz said, whose Twitter account was previously locked for breaking its abusive behavior rule. “It might have a comedic effect.”
Hollywood Unlocked’s Jason Lee and NoJumper’s Adam Grandmaison have also been in the hot seat for their part in misinformation against Megan Thee Stallion.
Someone on our team posted a rumor about the Tory Lanez verdict. The jury is still deliberating. The tweets have been deleted
— adam22 (@adam22) December 22, 2022
“Jason Lee gives his opinion, but Hollywood Unlocked is unbiased,” Lee said. “At first I thought it was unfair for people to automatically say Tory was guilty without giving him an opportunity in court. I’ve always struggled with the way she’s been treated. While I don’t believe it’s fair to say Tory’s automatically guilty, I also don’t believe it’s fair to call a woman who says she was shot by a man a ‘liar.’”
Following jury deliberations, People V. Daystar is looking to come to a close shortly.