Facebook Must Do More To Address Ukraine Disinformation
Alarming Spread of Disinformation Requires Unprecedented Emergency Response from Facebook/Meta; RFOB Stands with Baltic Leaders in Demanding Action
28 February — The Real Facebook Oversight Board issued the following statement for attribution about Facebook’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine -
“In spite of actions taken to date, Facebook is failing to take all necessary steps to protect the Ukrainian people and shut off Russia’s spread of disinformation about the invasion. Facebook has profited from Russian disinformation for years, aiding and abetting Russia in the lead up to the Ukrainian invasion. But more aggressive action is urgently needed.
The leaders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia today called on Facebook and other leading social media platforms to take stronger action to combat fake news about Ukraine. “Although the online platforms have undertaken significant efforts to address the Russian government’s unprecedented assault on truth, they have not done enough,” the leaders wrote.
We stand with the Polish and Baltic leaders in demanding action, and urge every possible measure, including:
- Cut off state funded media and propaganda from Russia and Belarusian government institutions entirely, which along with the personal accounts of the countries’ leadership and their associates, are strengthening Putin’s hand and weaponizing information.
- Act with transparency about in-country and non-English speaking content moderators. We currently have no window into the level of language-appropriate moderation being provided.
- Proactively suspend accounts denying, glorifying or justifying wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- Work with civil society to ensure the local context is understood and invested in accordingly.
- Restore access and transparency for independent researchers. Facebook took down the tools that enabled researchers to identify influence operations, making anti-disinformation efforts less effective. Researchers need this access.
Finally, we call on Facebook to take the one step they have so far been afraid to do anywhere in the world: Turn off your algorithm that “upranks” unreliable news sources and commit to an information ecosystem that prioritizes reliable, fact-checked mainstream news organizations.
A study Friday for the Center for Countering Digital Hate showed that early in the conflict, Facebook is failing to label 91% of posts containing Russian propaganda about Ukraine. This failure will cost lives and further imperil Ukranian democracy and independence.
Facebook must act swiftly — we need action and transparency, not partial measures.
Real Facebook Oversight Board members are available for interviews. Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at email@example.com.