🚨 Message to Shareholders: Facebook Disinformation Kills🚨
📣 RFOB Quarterly Disinfo Report: New Research Shows 83% of #1 Facebook Posts In Q2 Came From Disinformation Superspreaders; Facebook Still Profiting off of Trump; Body Bags at FB HQ In DC; Advocates Issue New Demands on Disinformation, News Feed 📣
Washington D.C. — Ahead of Facebook’s Q2 Earnings Call, the Real Facebook Oversight Board today released its Quarterly Harms Report with new data showing Facebook’s real story for Q2 2021: Profit from hate, deadly disinformation and a continued role as the platform of choice for right wing extremists. The report is a deep-dive into Facebook’s impact on democracy, privacy and human rights each quarter.
- The Real Facebook Oversight Board’s own analysis found that of all the #1 posts on Facebook in Q2, just five known disinformation superspreaders dominated the number one slot, with a staggering 83.4% share.
- Exclusive data shared by Media Matters showed that despite former President Trump’s ban, an affiliate PAC is allowed to continue fundraising, making money both for themselves and for Facebook through ad revenue, with over 840,000 views.
“Our Q2 Facebook Harms Report is essential reading for investors who are keen to understand the harms caused by their investment,” a spokesperson for the Real Facebook Oversight Board said, “which this quarter led the President of the United States to say that Facebook is ‘killing people.; Our research shows that combatting Covid disinformation and upranking reputable news sources are both easily done. In fact, Facebook temporarily acted on the latter after the US Presidential Election in November 2020. Their failure to act is an active choice when people are dying amidst a global pandemic — all to maintain profit margins. It is deeply immoral and it should be criminal.”
“Investors need to start paying attention to the fact that there is a real risk that these companies will be convicted of crimes,” said Roger McNamee, Real Facebook Oversight Board Founding Member and early investor in Facebook. “And that’s going to change the entire situation.”
Underscoring the reports concerns about COVID disinformation, the Real Facebook Oversight Board this morning took their message directly to Facebook, laying dozens of body bags on the doorstep of Facebook’s DC office with toe tags reading “Facebook Disinfo Kills.” [Release will be updated with video and image links] The Center for Countering Digital Hate recently documented that just 12 individuals — the “disinformation dozen” — are responsible for the vast majority of COVID disinformation on Facebook, confirming that addressing the issue is less complicated than Facebook would want you to believe.
“President Biden was right when he said that misinformation on social media platforms by the Disinformation Dozen is killing people. Every day, there are avoidable deaths as a result of deadly propaganda which is designed to persuade people that vaccines don’t work and that COVID isn’t dangerous,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). “ Despite repeated warnings and prior knowledge about these bad actors, Facebook refuses to stop profiting from misinformation. This report is a stark reminder for anyone who needed it that the values and business model that underpins Facebook is broken beyond repair.”
In the Quarterly Harms Report, the Real Facebook Oversight Board and its partners issued two major demands of Facebook:
- Disable post engagement on proven disinformation superspreaders. We know this can be done because we know who they are.
- Uprank quality news sources by reprioritizing reputability in the news algorithm. We know this can be done because Facebook has done it before — in the leadup to the U.S. Election. It’s Facebook’s choice to have us all swim in a right-wing cesspool.
“The Real Facebook Oversight Board is demanding that Facebook do two things today,” said McNamee. “ First, they need to stop the algorithmic amplification of disinformation. And secondly, they need to treat legitimate journalism as content to be amplified and shared widely. They owe us as consumers, as citizens, a much safer information ecosystem. Facebook is one of the core platforms on which we deliberate the issues of our democracy. Facebook is contaminated with disinformation, hate speech, and conspiracy theories to the point where 40% of our citizens in the United States live in an artificial reality. Facebook didn’t create that artificial reality. Facebook did enable it and profit from it. That has to stop today.”
“People are making decisions based on the disinformation that’s being spread on Facebook. If Facebook is not going to take that down, or if all they’re gonna do is put out disclaimers, then fundamentally, we Facebook is participating in these deaths as well,” said Shireen Mitchell, Member of the Real Facebook Oversight Board and founder of Stop Online Violence Against Women. ”We know this because they’ve done similar things. We had genocide in Myanmar, what happened in Kenosha, people died. And if Facebook is not going to take responsibility for their participation in these actions, then we have a fundamental problem, not only for democracy, but for the safety of all Facebook’s users.”
“The anti-social economics of surveillance capitalism long ago turned Facebook into a killing field for truth, thanks to targeting operations that privilege the toxic, corrupt, and grotesque for the sake of maximum data extraction, behavior manipulation, and revenue. Then a plague came to America and was quickly hijacked by disinformation campaigns authored by Mr. Trump and his networks to advance their twisted political interests. Facebooks’ high-velocity commercial machine marched in step, amplifying Covid-related lies and drowning out reliable knowledge. Researchers concluded that hundreds of thousands of America’s daughters and sons suffered avoidable Covid deaths as victims of murderous Covid disinformation vaulted to center stage by the Facebook machine. Now the same economic operations are harnessed to propagate doubt and mistrust toward life preserving Covid vaccines, weakening society and democracy as Facebook’s killing machine for truth enables a tragic new cycle of avoidable deaths among the unvaccinated and the social chaos that follows in its wake, said Shoshana Zuboff, author, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School.
“Mr. Zuckerberg can alter these events, but he chooses not to. His power is absolute, neither compelled by law, nor by shareholders, nor by investors. But no moral human being can celebrate profits earned in the shadow of so much unnecessary death. The lesson is that we are a young information civilization that has not yet found its footing in democracy. We stand as helpless bystanders, imploring this no-longer-young man to do something to protect our information. Let’s be clear: this situation is intolerable. No man and no corporation should be allowed to wield this kind of power over life and death information. We must demand that our lawmakers grasp this historic tipping point to finally reckon with the requirements of a digital and democratic future. It is not too late, and there is no time to waste.”
“Our research and analysis lays out Facebook’s ongoing addiction to disinformation hosted on their platform and their active choice not to treat it,” a spokesperson for the Real Facebook Oversight Board said.” Facebook also failed to adequately deal with former President Trump by not only allowing his affiliate PAC’s to raise money on the platform and announcing his potential reinstatement to the platform in January 2023 despite inciting an insurrection that led to his impeachment. While systemic change is required through statutory legislation, Facebook can act now to mitigate some of the harm caused.”
- Read the full Quarterly Harms Report Here: https://rfob.medium.com/facebook-quarterly-harms-report-q2-2021-dd5dfc2d8222
- Video of today’s action coming soon
- Photos of today’s actions are above and below
- Interviews are available with Real Facebook Oversight Board members.