The former vice president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, implores Facebook to fix their problems with fake news before the impending presidential election.
In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the 47th vice president of the United States Joe Biden accused Facebook of taking “no meaningful action” against disinformation and false advertisements.
“Trump and his allies have used Facebook to spread fear and misleading information about voting, attempting to compromise the means of holding power to account: our voices and our ballot boxes,” said Joe Biden. In response, the Biden for President campaign is offering “concrete recommendations” to fix Facebook’s problems, including clearer rules and swifter fact-checking. He also suggested a two-week pre-election period during which all political advertisements must be verified before appearing on the site.
“Anything less will render Facebook a tool of misinformation that corrodes our democracy,” Biden said. “Facebook has promised better. And American voters deserve better.” With fewer than 150 days until the November election, the presidential hopeful warned that time “for setting, testing, and implementing meaningful policy” is running out.
Biden is urging people to make their voice heard and sign the campaign’s open letter to Facebook (as well as answer some questions about fake news, social media, and the upcoming vote). “We saw in 2016 what can happen when social media platforms are left unchecked and allow misinformation to run rampant,” Biden tweeted on Thursday. “It puts the very integrity of our elections at risk. We simply cannot let it happen again in 2020.”
In response, Facebook said “we live in a democracy, where the elected officials decide the rules around campaigns.
“Just as they have done with broadcast networks — where the US government prohibits rejecting politicians’ campaign ads — the people’s elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them,” it continued. “There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it.”
In a lengthy statement published last Friday, Zuckerberg promised to revisit the company’s policies around content moderation and possibly regulate partisan posts. However, his reluctance to remove posts from President Trump that contain false information about mail-in voting, among other topics, has irked Facebook employees.
Twitter has opted to add fact-checks and warning labels to Trump’s messages, while Snapchat has removed Trump posts from is Discover section. In response, Trump has called on regulators to remove the legal protection internet companies receive as content hosts, something Joe Biden also supports—although as The Verge points out, “Biden’s policies are meant to lead to more moderation of misinformation, rather than less.”