Facebook and social media companies are being urged by US groups to crack down on election disinformation

Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok must act now to mitigate the impact of misinformation – including Donald Trump’s “big lie” that his 2020 defeat was the result of fraud – in this year’s US congressional election , rights groups said on Thursday.

Social media platforms backed away from action to tackle election disinformation after the 2020 presidential campaign won by Democratic US President Joe Biden, more than 100 advocacy groups led by Common Cause said in a letter to social media executives .

A spate of disinformation then led to the deadly attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, and that disinformation continues to multiply, they said, citing research and public reporting.

“High-profile disinformation disseminators and other bad actors continue to use social media platforms to spread messages that undermine electoral confidence,” said a letter sent to chief executives and signed by more than 100 groups led by Common Cause .

“Candidates are using the Big Lie as a platform to pre-emptively explain voter fraud to contest the results of the 2022 election,” they wrote. “This damages American democracy by undermining confidence in the integrity of our elections.”

The letter, which was also sent to the CEOs of Google, Instagram and Snap, urged the companies to take action, including prioritizing fact-checking and providing real-time access to data for outside researchers and watchdogs.

The “big lie” that election fraud cost Trump the White House in 2020 must be fought as a priority, the letter says.

The groups also sought more transparency around political advertising, enforcement practices and algorithmic models.

Other signatories include voting rights and electoral integrity groups, as well as the Center for American Progress, the League of Women Voters, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Arab American Institute.

© Thomson Reuters 2022 Facebook and social media companies are being urged by US groups to crack down on election disinformation

Ryan Sederquist

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