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Media & Democracy 05.13.2022

VICE News: ‘Time to Get Out’: Arizona’s Election Security Chief Quits Over Threats and Conspiracies

Yosef Getachew, director of the media and democracy program at the advocacy group Common Cause, told me a “wrong and bad” standard applied to individuals doesn’t mean much. Jan. 6 “wasn’t one or two tweets here or there. It was a massive coordination from numerous organizations,” he said. “You have to have policies that prohibit coordinated efforts to use platforms to incite violence or spread information that leads to the loss of individuals’ right to vote.” Common Cause and about 120 progressive groups appealed to Twitter, Facebook, and all the big social media companies this week to do more to protect democracy with better content enforcement and standards.  

Media & Democracy 05.12.2022

Reuters: U.S. groups urge social media companies to fight 'Big Lie," election disinformation

“High-profile disinformation spreaders and other bad actors are continuing to use social media platforms to disseminate messages that undermine trust in elections,” read a letter sent to chief executives and signed by more than 100 groups lead by Common Cause. “Candidates are using the Big Lie as a platform plank to pre-emptively declare voter fraud in order to dispute the results of the 2022 election,” they wrote. “This is damaging American democracy by undermining faith in the integrity of our elections.”

Voting & Elections 05.12.2022

More Than 120 Civil Rights & Democracy Groups Call on Social Media Giants to Take Significant Actions to Combat Election Disinformation Ahead of Midterm Elections 

Today, more than 120 civil rights, democracy, and public interest groups called on the major social media companies to combat and curb election disinformation on the platforms ahead of this year’s midterm elections. In a letter to the CEOs of Meta, Twitter, YouTube, Snap, Instagram, TikTok, and Alphabet, the groups urged the platforms to take a variety of specific actions, including “introducing friction to reduce the spread and amplification of disinformation, consistent enforcement of robust civic integrity policies; and greater transparency into business models that allow disinformation to spread.”  

Voting & Elections 04.29.2022

VICE News: Toxic Twitter Disinfo Is Bad Enough. Musk Could Make It Even Worse.

"As we saw with Jan. 6, Trump gets so much engagement that his network of high-profile politicians and influencers can keep disinformation flowing at a fever pitch. Some Jan. 6 rioters have been citing election disinformation as a reason behind their actions at the Capitol. He’d be able to essentially restart with this built-in network that can be weaponized against democracy. Either way, consistent content moderation is vital, not just at election time but during non-election periods, when platforms like Twitter and Facebook have disbanded their teams or stopped moderating." - Yosef Getachew Q&A with Todd Zwillich

Media & Democracy 04.26.2022

NewsOne: Elon Musk’s Twitter Acquisition Reinforces Calls For Big Tech To ‘Fix The Feed’

Being a private entity doesn’t mean that a corporate space can do anything it pleases, particularly as shown by large social media sites that have a direct impact on elections and Democracy itself. Yosef Getachew, director of the Media and Democracy Program at Common Cause, explained the problem of “prioritizing profits over the public good.” “Social-media platforms have been complicit in the spread of disinformation and other harmful content that has suppressed votes and sparked real-world violence,” Getachew said in a statement. “Their actions have allowed high-profile disinformation spreaders and other bad actors to continue using social media to spread content designed to undermine trust in our elections. With midterm elections fast approaching, platforms must adopt these safety protocols, including the robust and consistent enforcement of their civic-integrity policies 365 days a year.” 

Voting & Elections 04.23.2022

Associated Press: In election misinformation fight, ’2020 changed everything’

The voting advocacy group Common Cause will rely on thousands of volunteers like Bowers to identify misinformation floating around online and push for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to take down the most egregious falsehoods. False claims about voting times, locations or eligibility, for example, are banned across Twitter and Meta’s platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram. During the 2020 election, platforms applied fact checks, labeled or removed more than 300 pieces of popular, false content that Common Cause turned up. More recently, in Texas, more than 100 volunteers worked four-hour shifts to monitor false claims coming out of the state’s primary election in March. The most frequent conspiracy theory shared that night claimed that staffing shortages at polling locations were deliberate, Bowers noted. “Texas is kind of the playbook for things to come,” said Emma Steiner, a disinformation analyst for the group. “My major concern is that local issues, like with these staff or ballot shortages, will be amplified by influencers or partisan actors with a national platform as signs of malign interference in elections; it’s a pretty recognized pattern from 2020.”

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