Governor DeSantis to investigate Facebook for alleged violations of election laws
Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked the Florida Secretary of State’s office to launch an investigation into whether Facebook violated any of the state’s election laws through its so-called shadow program giving some people alleged preferential treatment. candidates.
The governor pointed to the Wall Street Journal’s explosive report earlier this month regarding internal documents about the social media giant’s XCheck program, which Facebook itself admits grants a second level of scrutiny for high-profile users like politicians – but not all candidates in every race.
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“Although the program included most government officials, it did not include all candidates for public office, sometimes effectively giving election holders an advantage over challengers,” the Journal reported. “The gap was most prevalent in state and local races, the documents show, and employees feared Facebook could face accusations of favoritism.”
“It’s no secret that Big Tech censors have long applied their own rules inconsistently,” DeSantis said in a statement announcing the decision Monday. “If this new report is true, Facebook has violated Florida law to put its thumb on the ladder of many state and local races.”
He added: “The idea that Facebook is clandestinely manipulating the elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic. We the people have the right to choose our representatives whether Silicon Valley approves it or not.
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In his letter to Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, the Governor wrote: “Your office should use all legal means to uncover such violations. [of alleged election interference caused by Facebook], including, but not limited to, issuing subpoenas, conducting interviews with witnesses, reviewing all available information and consulting with law enforcement. “
Facebook defended its XCheck program when contacted by FOX Business.
“The cross-checking system was designed for an important reason: to create an extra step so that we can accurately enforce content policies that might require further understanding,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. . “This could include activists raising awareness of cases of violence or journalists covering areas of conflict.”
“Facebook itself has identified the problems with cross-checking and has worked to resolve them,” they continued, adding, “We have invested, built a dedicated team and redesigned cross-checking to make it work better. system.”
The company also said its teams “have gone to great lengths to ensure that both federal and non-federal race incumbents and challengers receive cross-check protections.”
This story has been updated to include the response from Facebook.