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Public Citizen is demanding Facebook take more action to control misinformation on the platform.

Public Citizen is demanding Facebook take more action to control misinformation on the platform. (Photo: flickr/GostGo/cc)

Facebook Under Fire After Its Response to Coronavirus Misinformation Makes Clear Company Could Do More to Combat Political Lies

"It's not about free speech. It's about money."

Eoin Higgins

Advocacy group Public Citizen is calling on social media giant Facebook to take the same action against political misinformation it has to lies about the coronavirus on the platform.

"Facebook makes the high-minded claim that it's protecting free speech by doing little about political misinformation," said the group. "What it's really doing is pandering to powerful political interests, particularly those with deep pockets, at the expense of the long-term health of the company and our democracy."

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, Facebook is under fire for reports that company executives knowingly ignored warnings that its algorithm incites divisiveness as an engagement tool and refused to take action. 

"Facebook knows what it's doing, intentionally continues to cause harm to increase engagement and profit, and will never fix these problems themselves," said the group Freedom From Facebook and Google in response to the revelations. 

Public Citizen's call echoed those accusations of the company's complicity. 

"Facebook is a corporation that rakes in enormous profit selling ads," the group said. "Therefore, what types of ads are being sold, how they are performing, who is seeing them, who is paying for them, and what information silos they create for other ad revenue are all important to Facebook."

The group called on Facebook shareholders to hold the company accountable and demand that the platform make more clear which political ads are based in lies and misinformation. 

"When corporations have outsized influence over our elections, democracies lose," said Public Citizen. "Facebook should be in the business of promoting honest, robust civic discourse for the benefit of its users, shareholders, and democracies the world over."

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Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could 'Doom' Hope for Livable Future

"The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases," said one scientist. "The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all."

Jessica Corbett ·

Supreme Court Takes 'Wrecking Ball' to Separation of Church and State With Prayer Ruling

After decades of affirming that prayers led by school officials are unconstitutional, said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, "the court now charts a different path."

Julia Conley ·

Louisiana Judge Blocks State's Post-Roe Abortion Ban

"Abortion care will resume in the state and a hearing has been set for July 8th," said the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Jake Johnson ·

Progressives Launch 'Four More' Campaign to Demand Supreme Court Expansion

"In a true democracy, power rests with the people," one campaigner asserted. "And the only way to take our power back is to take back the court."

Brett Wilkins ·

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