Biden hits social media firms over lack of transparency
Former Vice President Joe Biden says social media companies like Twitter and Facebook need to do more to address how their platforms are used for political content after the 2016 election.
In an article, co-written with Michael Carpenter for Foreign Affairs magazine, Biden details “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin” on social media and other platforms. Facebook has acknowledged that Russian agents purchased thousands of ads on Facebook and other websites that reached millions of Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google must provide greater transparency about who funds the political advertisements on their platforms, work harder to eliminate automated and bot-generated content, and invest in the technological and human resources to root out fake foreign accounts that spread disinformation,” they wrote.
The former vice president, who is considered a top 2020 presidential contender for Democrats, says that political activists and the news media must call out disinformation on Facebook and Twitter in a more active way.
“Journalists and activists in the United States and Europe must do more to expose and root out disinformation, especially on social media,” he wrote.
“In countries with extensive experience of Russian information warfare,” Biden continues, “such as Estonia and Finland, officials and media professionals alike have learned that the more light they shine on the methods foreign actors use to sow disinformation, the less successful the propaganda becomes.”
In the article, Biden goes on to call for “the creation of an independent, nonpartisan commission to examine Russia’s assault on American democracy,” and blasts President Trump’s inaction and stance on Russia’s election meddling.
“Trump has made a habit of lavishing praise on Putin and even reportedly sought to lift sanctions against Russia shortly after his inauguration,” he says. “We are not questioning Trump’s motives, but his behavior forces us to question his judgment.”
“Putin and his cronies do not understand that the greatest strength of American democracy is an engaged citizenry,” Biden adds. “Even if the president refuses to act, we can.”