Our democracy is facing unprecedented threats: an ongoing pandemic, extreme polarization, widespread efforts to deceive voters and undermine our elections, and what will likely be a prolonged period of uncertainty as ballots are counted.
If social media platforms continue business as usual, they will be weaponized to exacerbate all of these threats. Unchecked lies about mail-in ballots and fraud will suppress votes. Baseless claims of election-rigging will sow chaos and inflame tensions. And extremists will organize and advocate for violence.
Social media companies must act now to protect our democracy by clearly outlining and consistently enforcing rules to prevent the spread of dangerous election-related lies.
Accountable Tech recently released our Election Integrity Roadmap. Designed in consultation with technologists, civil rights leaders, and disinformation experts, our roadmap takes existing policies and technology from the top social media companies in the world and recommends dozens of ways they can better secure their platforms and our democracy.
Here are a few easy steps companies can take to protect our democracy this election season:
- Eliminating any fact-checking exemption for politicians – such as Facebook’s current policy – on all posts or ads related to voting, election integrity, or results;
- Imposing a series of escalating penalties to limit the reach and impact of repeat misinformation spreaders during election season;
- Empowering election and disinformation experts to act as Platform Poll Watchers, flagging false content and promoting credible information in real-time;
- Rapidly pre-screening content from high-reach accounts once the polls close to preempt violence-inciting posts;
- Educating voters about what to expect after ballots are cast.
Add your name to our petition demanding action from social media companies
We must hold social media companies to their civic responsibility to protect the integrity of our democracy. We cannot wait for Facebook, Twitter, and Google to react haphazardly once the damage has been done. They must act now.