Following Facebook’s announcement on Tuesday evening that it would ban pages, groups and accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory, Ann Ravel, Digital Deception Project Director at MapLight, issued the following statement:
“After roughly three years of the QAnon conspiracy theory spreading ramptantly on Facebook and poisoning our information ecosystem, Facebook has finally decided it’s time for the baseless, harmful content to stop dominating our feeds. It’s too little, too late and comes only after Facebook tried and failed to crack down on QAnon disinformation in August. The latest announcement is a blaring reminder of how the integrity of our democracy currently depends far too heavily on the goodwill of a handful of technology and social media companies and their CEOs.
“Facebook has proven itself both unwilling and incapable of creating and enforcing content moderation policies that limit the spread of deceptive and harmful information that undermines our elections. But those decisions shouldn’t be subject to the whims of private companies more concerned with their business interests than democratic values to begin with. That’s why we need Congress to enact clear laws that limit the spread of online disinformation, such as H.R. 1. That bill, also known as the For the People Act, was passed by the House in 2019 but never given a chance in the Senate. Passing H.R.1 must be the top priority when the new Congress convenes. Facebook has made it clear it won’t do the right thing — now it’s up to our lawmakers to take the choice out of company hands.”