Facebook & Twitter Remove Trump’s Misinformation on COVID-19 but Must Do More to Combat Election Disinformation and Voter Suppression 

Statement of Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media & Democracy Program Director 

Recent actions from Facebook and Twitter to remove posts from President Trump containing COVID-19 misinformation show that the platforms have much more work to do to combat attacks on our democracy including the spread of election disinformation and voter suppression. Facebook works with fact-checking organizations to review and rate COVID-19 related content, uses tools to downrank COVID-19 misinformation, and directs users to authoritative sources on COVID-19 information. At the same time, Facebook refuses to fact-check political ads despite containing deceptive information that could suppress votes. Twitter has responded to the spread of COVID-19 misinformation by revising its policy on what is considered harmful content and adding labels to tweets with misinformation about the virus. Yet, Twitter has not taken adequate action to consistently enforce and expand its election integrity policies when it comes to tweets from the President that contain election disinformation.

Placing a few warning labels on posts from the President with election disinformation is a start but both platforms have far more work to do to consistently enforce their civic integrity policies and make them stronger as appropriate.  Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms should take a serious look at how their COVID-19 disinformation policies can apply to reducing the spread of election disinformation and voter suppression.