MapLight Responds to Biden’s Demands for Accountability from Facebook

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Alec Saslow | June 12, 2020

Following reports that the Biden presidential campaign has called for Facebook to limit misinformation and hateful language on its platform ahead of the 2020 election, Ann Ravel, Digital Deception Project Director at MapLight, issued the following statement:

“Facebook has utterly failed to create a healthy ecosystem for political debate online and instead chosen to erode our democracy by allowing the rampant spread of misinformation and outright lies by politicians. The Biden campaign is right to demand more from Facebook — not just because President Trump is perhaps the most influential purveyor of false information, but because the integrity of our democracy depends on addressing the spread of deceptive information online. Regardless of whether it comes from foreign or domestic sources, disinformation about voting processes and elections risks misleading voters and decreasing trust in political processes in what is already a time of great uncertainty. It is crucial that safeguards be put in place in time for the 2020 election.

“But Facebook alone can not solve this problem, nor should we rely on technology companies whose primary goal is profit to self-regulate for the good of the nation. It’s past time for clear federal laws that set out the rules for political communications online to create more transparency, limit micro-targeting, and clamp down on the spread of misinformation.  Facebook can and must do better, but we also need our lawmakers to do more than watch as we scroll the news feed.”

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