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Democrats call on Facebook to do more to stop election interference

By
Don Jacobson
Black Lives Matter supporters argue with backers of President Donald Trump on September 1 as Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin. File photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI
Black Lives Matter supporters argue with backers of President Donald Trump on September 1 as Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin. File photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Two Democratic lawmakers on Monday demanded that Facebook do more to counter its use by right-wing militia and White supremacist groups to organize voter suppression efforts and spread misinformation.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and David Cicilline of Rhode Island, both members of House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer concerns the platform isn't doing to enough to counter efforts by right-wing extremists to "spread rumors and misinformation about the election."

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Those groups, they said, are also tapping Facebook Event pages to organize "election interference," including armed intimidation at polling places, as well as to organize violence against racial justice demonstrators -- despite an announced crackdown this month on community standards violators.

Jayapal and Cicilline cited last month's deaths of two people in Kenosha, Wis., who were allegedly killed by a member of an armed militia using an event page, which Facebook "did not take down despite numerous calls to do so."

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"With the election less than 40 days away, the lack of concerted action by Facebook to address this threat to our democracy is a grave concern," the lawmakers in a letter to Zuckerberg. "We are at the precipice of a democratic crisis, and Facebook must take all immediate steps within their power to avert this crisis."

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Jayapal and Cicilline demanded that Facebook "consistently enforce" its existing policies banning voting interference for all Facebook users -- "including for the President of the United States and other elected officials."

They also urged the platform to "immediately remove posts, groups and event pages that are planning or promoting White supremacist violence, voter suppression or misinformation" and to specifically "enforce the existing ban on calls to action to bring weapons to places such as polling places, and locations used to count votes or administer an election."

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The lawmakers demanded a response from Facebook no later than Oct. 12.

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