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Nov 10, 2020

Facebook 'shredding fabric of democracy,' Biden spokesman says

Paul Harris discusses Facebook

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A representative of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden lashed out at Facebook Inc., alleging that the social media giant is “shredding the fabric of our democracy” in the aftermath of the election.

“In the days after Election Day, Facebook is flooded with thousands of calls for violence,” Bill Russo, a Biden campaign spokesman, said in a tweet. “Some of them are taken down, but many are left up for hours, if not days.”

Russo pointed to recent online statements by former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who in a video called for the beheading of Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Facebook eventually blocked access to the video, but Bannon’s account is still active. Twitter suspended Bannon’s account, while Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube removed the offending video and temporarily barred Bannon’s account.

Russo also cited theories about a fraudulent U.S. election going viral on Facebook, despite no evidence of widespread fraud.

In most cases where users post false or misleading election-related content, Facebook applies a label with a link to its voter information center, instead of directly saying whether the posting is false. Often that’s because the company’s third-party fact checkers haven’t yet been able to review the content, according to Facebook.

Even before the election, Biden’s campaign was pressuring Facebook to do more about untruthful content, and has been unsatisfied with the company’s response.

“We changed our products to ensure fewer people see false information and are made aware of it when they do, and highlighted reliable election information where nearly everyone on Facebook and Instagram saw that Vice President Biden was the projected winner,” Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday.