Jun 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign circulates petition demanding Facebook crack down on misinformation

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking at a podium with a 2020 campaign sign

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign published a petition and a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday demanding that the social media giant implement stronger misinformation rules and hold politicians, including President Trump, accountable for spreading lies.

Why it matters: Biden is directly challenging Facebook over its misinformation policies months ahead of the 2020 election. Many Democrats have been calling for Facebook to more closely regulate misinformation on its platform, especially since some credit Facebook for President Trump's 2016 victory.

  • Biden's offensive comes as Facebook faces backlash, both internally and externally, for declining to respond to posts by Trump that alluded to violence against protesters.
  • Zuckerberg defended his decision not to act against the controversial messages posted by Trump at a contentious online meeting with Facebook staff last week.
  • The platform has drawn a stark contrast with Twitter, which has fact-checked the president for his claims about mail-in voting and slapped a label on one of his tweets for violating its rules about "glorifying violence."

Details: The Biden campaign published the following requests ...

  1. "They need to promote authoritative and trustworthy sources of election information, rather than the rants of bad actors and conspiracy theorists. "
  2. "They need to promptly remove false, viral information."
  3. "They need to prevent political candidates and PACs from using paid advertising to spread lies and misinformation — especially within two weeks of election day."
  4. "They need clear rules — applied universally, with no exceptions for the President —  that prohibit threats and lies about how to participate in the election."

What they're saying:

  • A Biden campaign spokesperson said: "With fewer than five months until the 2020 election, real changes to Facebook's policies for their platform and how they enforce them are necessary to protect against a repeat of the role that disinformation played in the 2016 election and that continues to threaten our democracy today. We are urging our supporters to make their voices heard in this call for change."
  • Facebook responded: "Just as they have done with broadcast networks — where the US government prohibits rejecting politicians' campaign ads — the people's elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them. There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it."

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