For much of the past year, Facebook has found itself under pressure from lawmakers to fight the spread of hate speech and misinformation on its platform. And this week, those efforts intensified, with Democratic lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee pressing the social media giant to do something about these problems — or face potential legislation.
“The Committee is deeply concerned about dangerous and divisive rhetoric thriving on Facebook’s platform and is considering legislation to address these issues,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter. “From conspiracy theorists peddling false information to extremist voices urging and organizing violence, Facebook has become a breeding ground for polarization and discord.”
In response, Facebook touted its track record of removing billions of fake accounts, and its support network of over 80 fact-checking partners to address misinformation. However, the lawmakers still want a detailed response from the company illustrating its internal research on these issues. They also asked to receive the information just weeks before Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before the committee, setting up Zuck to face yet another grilling from congress.
While these public criticisms don’t often force Facebook to change, at least politicians are beginning to take the issue of reining in Facebook more seriously.
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