The Biden campaign demanded that Facebook step up enforcement of President Donald Trump’s misleading and inaccurate posts, accusing the social media giant of breaking recent promises to crack down on election-related lies.
In a strong text three page letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got by Axios, Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon called Facebook “the main propagator of disinformation about the voting process.” She pointed out company commitment at the beginning of September to “protect our democracy” by “clearing up the confusion over the operation of this election” and by “fighting[ing] disinformation.”
“Three weeks have now passed,” Dillon wrote. “Rather than seeing progress, we have seen regression. Facebook’s continued promise of future action only serves as an excuse for inaction. “
In response to Dillon’s letter, a Facebook spokesperson said the company was hearing strong complaints from both sides of the partisan divide. “We have been criticized by Republicans for being biased against Tories and Democrats for not taking more action to restrict exactly the same content,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We have rules in place to protect the integrity of elections and freedom of expression, and we will continue to apply them impartially.”
September 3, Zuckerberg ad that Facebook would remove lies and misleading claims about the voting process that could cause someone to lose the opportunity to vote. He also said Facebook would not allow political ads during the week leading up to the election.
“We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time. “It means helping people register and vote, clear up the confusion over how this election works, and take action to reduce the risk of violence and unrest.”
The same day that Zuckerberg made the announcement, Trump wrote a Facebook post that encouraged some people vote by mail to vote a second time in person. Facebook added a tag to the bottom of the post saying, “Mail voting has a long history of reliability in the United States.”
Trump made a number of false and misleading claims on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the weeks that followed.
On Monday, for example, he asserted on both platforms that “ballots returned to states cannot be counted accurately.”
Twitter put a label on Trump’s tweet urging people to click to “know how to vote by mail is safe and secure.” Facebook initially put a tag on its post that linked to the company’s voting information center “for election resources and official updates.” After an online reaction, Facebook changed the label to more clearly indicate that the post was misleading.
In his letter to Zuckerberg, Dillon argued that Facebook should go further: “remove messages from Mr. Trump, which violate your policies.”
“[B]there now, “Dillon added,” Mr. Trump clearly understands that Facebook will not force him to abide by their clearly stated policies.