The Facebook disinformation machine is going viral hours before the first 2020 presidential debate – and barely 24 hours after former Vice President Joe Biden warned of it its probable occurrence and interference in his presidential campaign.
Alex Jones’ right-wing disinformation site, Infowars, posted a headline citing a report from former Fox News host Todd Starnes. The headline read, “Report: Joe Biden Has Been Given Tonight’s Debate Questions In Advance.” Starnes, who was citing right wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, published the story without fact-checking or supplying sources for his claims. In fact, there’s even a thought that the story has been circulating since last week. Regardless, his story reached his impressive audience of over 1 million followers on Facebook and another 1 million on Twitter, according to CrowdTangle. Crowdtangle is a social media analytics tool owned by Facebook.
Biden’s campaign sent Facebook a letter Monday laying out his campaign’s concerns about political disinformation being spread on its platform, but the response seemed tepid at best.
“Rather than seeing progress, we have seen regression,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a three-page letter obtained by Axios. O’Malley Dillion added that Facebook is “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process.”
Lots of disinfo ahead of tonight's debate. One case: InfoWars says Biden got questions in advance, citing former Fox host Todd Starnes. Starnes himself just heard it on local radio. And the radio station got it from conspiracy theory king and ex InfoWars employee Jerome Corsi. pic.twitter.com/O9g8OgZde6
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) September 29, 2020
The Biden earpiece conspiracy theory (which originated in a tweet from a single anonymous source to a NYPost reporter, and was instantly denied by the campaign) is everywhere on Facebook. Absolutely everywhere. pic.twitter.com/AIdXoy4ZIi
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) September 29, 2020
Someone needs to check Biden’s ears before the first debate. pic.twitter.com/TELKbyHfKN
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) September 21, 2020
Facebook company spokesperson Andy Stone told Axios in a statement, “While many Republicans think we should take one course, many Democrats think we should do the exact opposite. We’ve faced criticism from Republicans for being biased against conservatives and Democrats for not taking more steps to restrict the exact same content,” he said.
Trump has weaponized social media for the past four years. Recently, Trump turned to Facebook to amplify doubts about the integrity of mail-in ballots and other falsehoods that have gone unchecked.
The Biden campaign asserts that these attacks via social media only encourage illegal behavior and should be taken down.
“By now Mr. Trump clearly understands that Facebook will not hold him to their clearly stated policies,” the Biden letter stated.
Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows committed campaign finance crimes: watchdog group
The government ethics watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint on Friday accusing White House chief of staff Mark Meadows of campaign finance crimes for allegedly spending thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal expenses, including clubs, gourmet cupcakes, a jeweler in Washington and lodging at the president's hotel.
Win or lose — Trump is about to unleash hell
With poll numbers staying put and the odds of a Joe Biden win in Tuesday's election looking good — possibly by a decisive margin — there's mounting dread about how Donald Trump will behave after a defeat. After all, Trump is a sociopathic narcissist with the emotional control of a — well, I won't insult toddlers with the comparison — and he lives in mortal terror of being viewed as a loser. He's already made clear that he will refuses to concede, no matter what, and he's grasping desperately for any way to get legal ballots thrown out so he can steal the election.
GOP senator offended LDS community after likening Trump to a ‘selfless’ Book of Mormon hero: report
Politics and religion are colliding out west after comments a Republican senator made while stumping for the president.
"Sen. Mike Lee drew criticism from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week after comparing President Donald Trump to Captain Moroni, a heroic and selfless figure in the Book of Mormon," The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening.
"To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni," Lee (R-UT) said, pointing to Trump. "He seeks not power, but to pull it down. He seeks not the praise of the world or the ‘fake news,’ but he seeks the well-being and the peace of the American people."