Biden is Right: Facebook’s Lack of COVID Disinformation Oversight is Deadly

Statement from the Real Facebook Oversight Board:

JULY 18 — We stand with President Biden, and share the view that Facebook’s lack of oversight and any coherent content moderation strategy is driving vaccinations down and COVID infections up. Let’s look at the facts:

  • According to Accountable Tech, 11 out of the top 15 vaccine related-posts on Facebook last week were disinformation or anti-vaccine.
  • According to FWIW, a newsletter which tracks digital ad spends, the leading post on Facebook about the COVID-19 vaccines was a deeply inaccurate anti-vaccine rant from MAGA-personality Candace Owens.
  • The #1 Facebook post in the entire country about the vaccine on Friday was Marjorie Taylor Greene calling removal of COVID disinformation “communism.”
  • The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that the vast majority of COVID-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from just 12 people on Facebook. If an external non-profit can identify the primary sources of COVID disinformation, why can’t Facebook?

That’s all from Facebook’s own data, and only from the last week.

Facebook has a COVID disinformation problem because Facebook has a right-wing extremism problem. By remaining the platform of choice for insurrectionists, extremists and far right radicals, Facebook continues to wallow in filth — from Q-anon to January 6th to COVID disinformation.

Facebook does have an Oversight Board. But the Facebook Oversight Board is powerless to take up its own cases, has no mandate or authority to initiate its own investigations and even in one of the most significant moments of debate about the role of Facebook’s content in the history of the company. Powerless, toothless, impotent — they can only get involved if the company they are overseeing allows them to.

Once again we’ve been shown the urgent need for real, independent oversight of Facebook with transparency and accountability.

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.