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Article

3 Sep 2020

Author:
Michael Posner, Forbes

Commentary: What Facebook still needs to do about the 2020 elections

... [Facebook] is taking welcome actions including taking down Russian government sponsored sites, banning new political ads in the week before the election, strengthening responses to posts which aim to dissuade voter turnout, and countering political disinformation in the uncertain weeks after November 3rd... Despite these laudable steps and statements, the company still refuses to do what really needs to be done to protect our democracy, namely taking down all provably false political content on its site... When Facebook’s fact-checkers identify false content, the company labels the information as false and demotes the post in users’ newsfeeds. Generally, they do not apply the same measures to political ads.

... [Facebook] maintain[s] they are obligated to allow deliberately and provably false information on their site in the name of free speech. This may have seemed like a reasonable talking point in the past, but it no longer rings true. First, Facebook is not bound by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects free speech, because the provision applies to governments, not private companies. And second, Facebook’s efforts to take down certain types of false posts proves their willingness to moderate some forms of harmful content... Facebook should immediately decline to post deliberately false ads whenever political candidates and their supporters, whether Democrats or Republicans, seek to place them on the platform.

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