Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, admonished Facebook (FB) - Get Report in an open letter accusing the company of failing to eliminate disinformation and vote meddling in advance of the November election.
"Over the past year, the Biden for President campaign has called on Facebook to meet the commitment the company made after 2016 -- to use its platform to improve American democracy rather than as a tool to spread disinformation that undermines our elections," the letter wrote. "But Facebook has taken no meaningful action. It continues to allow Donald Trump to say anything -- and to pay to ensure that his wild claims reach millions of voters. SuperPACs and other dark money groups are following his example."
The letter called on Facebook to establish clear rules on content related to elections and voting that apply to everything, including President Trump. The letter also called for a two week pre-election period during which all political ads are fact-checked.
Facebook quickly issued a response, writing that "just as they have done with broadcast networks -- where the U.S. government prohibits rejecting politicians’ campaign ads -- the people’s elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them. There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it."
Facebook does not fact-check political advertising, and recently drew widespread rebukes from civil rights groups and its own employees for declining to remove incendiary posts by Trump.
One recent post contained the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," but Facebook's policies generally deem such posts newsworthy if they originate from world leaders. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that he will "review" some of Facebook's policies following the backlash.
Also on Thursday, Biden appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, and cautioned that Trump “try to steal” the upcoming election in part by spreading misinformation about voting.
“This is the guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent -- voting by mail -- while he sits behind a desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary,” Biden said.
Facebook shares were falling 5% on Thursday to $224.84 as overall markets were down sharply on a poor outlook for the economy and a rise in coronavirus cases.