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Facebook asked to curb election suppression by white supremacists

Two US reps say CEO Mark Zuckerberg must immediately address threats of voter suppression and calls to violence.

- 01:20
Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET
This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Two US representatives are asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to act immediately to ensure fairness and safety in the 2020 election. This includes "curbing suppression efforts by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and right-wing militias" who are using the social media platform to spread misinformation and hate ahead of the presidential election, according to Monday's letter from US Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. Both are Democrats.

The letter also points to current US President Donald Trump's recent comments that he would use law enforcement to patrol polling places -- which the representatives say is "voter intimidation designed to suppress turnout by Black and Latinx voters" -- and his refusal to commit to peacefully leaving the White House if he loses.

"The president's actions have emboldened white supremacists, neo-Nazis, right-wing militia groups and their supporters, who often turn to Facebook to spread rumors and misinformation about the election," the letter says. "The lack of concerted action by Facebook to address this threat to democracy is a grave concern."

The letter asks Facebook to enforce its policies banning voting interference; immediately remove any posts, groups and events that promote white supremacist violence, voter suppression and misinformation; ban white nationalist and hate groups; enforce its ban on any posts encouraging people to take weapons to polling places; and hire experts in dealing with white supremacist violence and hate groups.