According to a new report from the nonprofit journalism group ProPublica, Facebook has struggled to prevent voting misinformation from spreading on its platform in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election despite promising to do just that.
Of course, Facebook’s own community standards explicitly ban voting misinformation, with the rules stating that any content will be banned that misrepresents “who can vote, qualifications for voting, whether a vote will be counted, and what information and/or materials must be provided in order to vote.” However, according to ProPublica, the content that flourishes on Facebook tells a different story. In just one example, a video containing false voting information gained 3.7 million views and was shared over 170,000 times before it was finally flagged. Instances like that cause activists to question where Facebook’s priorities really lie.
“We have a long history in this country of voter suppression that goes all the way back to our founding,” said Jessica Gonzalez, the head of an advocacy group focused on media and technology. “This is a new way to suppress the vote, and I don’t know why Facebook wants any part of it.”
There’s no doubt that Facebook faces an uphill battle when it comes to removing misinformation. However, just because it’s difficult doesn’t excuse Facebook from doing such a poor job detecting and removing it.
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