Building Back Together, a nonprofit coalition with close ties to President Joe Biden, on Wednesday joined in the calls for Facebook to review whether its actions contributed to the spread of election fraud claims leading up to the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol.
In a letter reviewed by Politico, the outside coalition that was formed by top Biden allies and campaign advisers urged Facebook to commit to an internal probe, which the social media giant’s oversight board also recommended last month.
Bob Bauer, the coalition’s senior adviser for voting rights, in the letter called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make “an unequivocal commitment to the complete and public review suggested by the Oversight Board.”
“Unless Facebook engages in the transparent evaluation and review that the Oversight Board demands, it will have discredited the board’s very reason for being within 30 days of its only noteworthy action,” Bauer who advised Biden’s presidential campaign and served in the Obama White House, wrote.
Facebook’s oversight board, which has upheld Facebook’s decision to suspend former President Donald Trump’s account, has already called for a “comprehensive review of Facebook’s potential contribution to the narrative of electoral fraud and the exacerbated tensions that culminated in the violence in the United States on January 6.”
Facebook is required to respond to the board’s recommendations for changes to its policies and follow-up actions by Friday, even though the suggestions are not binding. With their letter, Biden’s allies are pushing the company to take action ahead of the deadline.
A spokesperson for Facebook said on Tuesday that the company plans to respond to the board’s call for a review of how it handled election fraud claims while making its formal response to the recommendations.
The Biden White House until now has stayed mostly quiet about online accountability. Building Back Together, which launched in March, has mainly sought to boost Biden agenda items like his infrastructure plans and COVID-19 recovery, but recently moved to work on expansions of voting access and rights.
The spread of disinformation is “a profound threat to the health of American democracy,” Bauer said in a statement, adding that the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol show “what can happen when platforms like Facebook fail to protect against the gross abuse of its platform and amplify those who spread lies.”
Facebook indefinitely suspended Trump on Jan. 7, and referred the case to its oversight board. It upheld the suspension but still criticized Facebook for handing down the indefinite suspension and told the company to revisit the suspension within six months.