Nonprofit calls for Facebook review of election fraud claims leading up to Jan. 6

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A nonprofit created by Biden allies and campaign advisers on Wednesday called on Facebook to review whether its actions contributed to the spread of baseless election fraud claims that ultimately fueled the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

In a letter reviewed by Politico, the Building Back Together nonprofit called on Facebook to conduct an internal probe, echoing recommendations that were made by the company’s oversight board last month.

Bob Bauer, a former Obama administration staffer, Biden campaign adviser and Building Back Together senior voting rights adviser, urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make “an unequivocal commitment to the complete and public review suggested by the Oversight Board.”

“Unless Facebook engages in the transparent evaluation and review that the Oversight Board demands, it will have discredited the board’s very reason for being within 30 days of its only noteworthy action,” Bauer said.

Politico notes that Facebook’s Oversight Board in May called for the company to perform “a comprehensive review of Facebook’s potential contribution to the narrative of electoral fraud and the exacerbated tensions that culminated in the violence in the United States on January 6.”

This letter is Building Back Together’s first time engaging in the debate over online misinformation and accountability, Politico notes.

Speaking to the outlet, Bauer said the spread of disinformation is “a profound threat to the health of American democracy.” And he said the riot at the Capitol showed “what can happen when platforms like Facebook fail to protect against the gross abuse of its platform and amplify those who spread lies.”

When reached for a response to the nonprofit’s letter by The Hill, a representative for Facebook referred to the company’s response to the Oversight Board’s decision in May. 

At the time, Facebook said the board had “made a number of recommendations on how we should improve our policies. While these recommendations are not binding, we actively sought the board’s views on our policies around political figures and will carefully review its recommendations.”

In early May, the Oversight Board decided that the ban on Trump’s Facebook page would remain in place.

“The Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible,” the board said in a statement at the time.

However, the board found that an indefinite suspension was not an appropriate course of action and requested that Facebook review the decision.

“Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the board added.

Facebook executive Nick Clegg responded to the board’s decision, saying, “We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate.”

Tags Disinformation Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg oversight board
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