What is Facebook Going to Do About Voter Suppression on Its Site?

NYT interview with Rashad Robinson:

Right, but I guess what I’m saying is that it seems like it’s just another cycle like we’ve had before. They’ll get some bad P.R. but see few consequences. Personally, as a journalist I struggle at where to go with Facebook. It seems tinkering with banning a group here or an ad here isn’t going to cut it.

Honestly, there is an election and I need to get them to enforce the policies on the books before the fall.

I need them to have some real rules around elections and voter suppression posts that actually will apply to Trump and other politicians so he doesn’t do anything dangerous on Election Day or before. I have a bunch of scenarios in my head around Election Day.

Like what?

Like, claiming victory early. Claiming tons of people are voting illegally and threatening that armed guards will show up. Or claiming discrepancies in turnout that don’t exist. Or signaling and calling on his base to do something like show up to polls and intimidate voters. That’s what his whole ‘looters and shooters’ post was about.

And I had to really explain that looters and shooters post to Mark on two separate occasions. And I had to say, “This conversation right here is the problem with you all not having any expertise in race.”

[A draft of the civil rights audit obtained by The New York Times cited this post: “After the company publicly left up the looting and shooting post, more than five political and merchandise ads have run on Facebook sending the same dangerous message that ‘looters’ and ‘Antifa terrorists’ can or should be shot by armed citizens.”]

Can you say more about that conversation?

We got into it around looters and shooters. They were trying to explain to me their policies and suggesting this was a head of state merely talking about the use of state force. And I was like, “Was that really what he was doing? Was it that or was it signaling or dogwhistling?”

I referenced the history of this language and how Trump has repeatedly cheered on his white male supporters who have showed up to protest situations strapped with guns. Trump has already called vote by mail illegal, which isn’t true. This is just another example of the dangerous ways the Facebook policies and algorithms are weaponized against us when elected leaders are allowed to lie and even incentivized to do so. I have to keep hope that we can get through to Mark and his team and that there’s potential for some new policies around voter suppression.

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