According to a new joint report from The Washington Post and ProPublica this week, Facebook allowed misinformation to spread like wildfire in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The report revealed that over 650,000 posts on Facebook attacked the legitimacy of the election between election day and Jan. 6, averaging at least 10,000 posts a day.
For its part, Meta strongly denied that its platform played any role whatsoever in the violence, instead shifting blame to the rhetoric of politicians.
“The notion that the January 6 insurrection would not have happened but for Facebook is absurd,” a Meta spokesperson said. “The responsibility for the violence that occurred on January 6 lies with those who attacked our Capitol and those who encouraged them.”
However, several anonymous Facebook employees have come out to say that the platform could’ve taken far greater action to crack down on this content, implying that it could have at least done more to prevent the violence from occurring.
“Facebook took its eye off the ball in the interim time between Election Day and Jan. 6,” a former integrity team employee said. “There was a lot of violating content that did appear on the platform that wouldn’t otherwise have.”
It’s obvious by now that Facebook will never accept responsibility for the role it plays in allowing dangerous ideas to spread. That means it’s up to advocates, lawmakers, and everyday users like us to place pressure on the company to act.
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