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Tipsheet

Dem Lawmakers Threaten Facebook: Continue Censorship or Else

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

After Elon Musk took control of Twitter, the left has been mourning its waning power over the platform as the old guard was "exited" and pro-free speech policies were implemented. The loss of Twitter as an arm of the Democrats' censorship machine has shaken the foundations of their power structure. Now, the changes at Twitter have at least some Democrat lawmakers on Capitol Hill scrambling to make sure they retain what power they have left to control the information Americans can view.

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In a letter to Nicholas Clegg, the president of global affairs for Facebook parent company Meta, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Cathy Castor (D-FL), Andre Carson (D-IN), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) demand that the company continue censoring what it calls "dangerous and unfounded election denial content" and "continue the suspension of former president Donald Trump's Facebook account beyond January."

The Democrat lawmakers explain that "social media platforms like Meta often alter or rollback certain misinformation policies, because they are temporary and specific to the election season" but fret that "[d]oing so in this current environment, in which election disinformation continuously erodes trust in the integrity of the voting process, would be a tragic mistake." Clutching their pearls tighter, the Democrats demand that "Meta must commit to strong election misinformation policies year-round, as we are still witnessing falsehoods about voting and the prior elections spreading on your platform."

"For Meta to credibly maintain a legitimate election integrity policy, it is essential that your company maintain its platform ban on former president Trump," the letter continues as lawmakers tell Meta how to run its business. The Democrats also go after Facebook allowing "election denial claims" by other candidates to "remain untouched on Facebook" which "gained more engagement on the platform."

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Trying to be like something of a hall monitor to ensure Facebook does a better job of helping Democrats, the letter calls on Meta to "recommit to focusing on election integrity year-round, while keeping Congress fully informed about its efforts" before making demands for more information:

As part of our ongoing oversight efforts, we request answers to the following questions, as well as a briefing to discuss other areas of oversight:

• After seeing election misinformation spread on Facebook regarding the 2022 elections this year, what changes will Meta make to its election integrity policies to ensure that misinformation about elections does not continue to spread?

• With the rise of candidates spreading election denial — both past and present — will Meta commit to monitoring and consider suspending dangerous, unfounded posts, regardless of who posts the content?

• Will Meta commit to keeping their election infrastructure in place year-round? What changes will be made to increase its capacity to monitor and provide truthful context to its users?

• Have the recent layoffs at Meta decreased the number of employees working on the misinformation, election integrity or foreign malign influence teams?

• What criteria will Meta consider when reviewing the ongoing suspension of Donald Trump’s accounts? Will Meta request any assurances from the candidate?

• Will Meta analyze the posts of Trump on Truth Social and other statements he has made when making a decision on his suspended account?

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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley described the Democrats' letter as "chilling" in a blog post, "a not-so-subtle threat that reducing its infamous censorship system will invite congressional action." Turley also noted that having Schiff as part of the Democrats' effort is yet another case of tone-deafness that's almost unbelievable.

"Schiff was one of the members of Congress who, before the 2020 presidential election, pushed the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation, and he has been criticized for pushing false narratives on Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election," Turley reminded. 

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