Despite tens of thousands of Mozilla supporters calling for urgent action, Twitter and Facebook haven’t paused their key recommendation engines that are amplifying misinformation. That’s why we're elevating our demands by publishing this open letter to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook in The Washington Post.
You can read the full letter below and co-sign with the form on this page.
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Dorsey:
You have both taken significant steps to curb the spread of disinformation related to the U.S. election: labeling false information, rejecting misleading ads, limiting retweets, and removing accounts and groups that promote lies, hate, conspiracies, and violence. These are important steps.
However, you have missed a critical vulnerability in each of your platforms. Facebook and Twitter still include features that could allow disinformation about voting and election results to go viral. This could escalate quickly and threaten the integrity of the U.S. election.
We are calling on both Facebook and Twitter to immediately turn off two features that can amplify disinformation: Facebook’s Group Recommendations and Twitter’s Trending Topics.
This approach would solve an urgent and unmet goal: curbing viral disinformation at scale while protecting against bias. Right now, a false or misleading trending topic or violent group can reach millions of people before other safeguards to label content or remove groups can take effect. These actions would apply equally and neutrally across your platforms in the U.S.
Countless experts — and even some of your own employees — have revealed how these features can amplify disinformation.
“64% of all extremist group joins are due to [Facebook] recommendation tools… [Facebook] recommendation systems grow the problem.”
eff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman, “Facebook Executives Shut Down Efforts to Make the Site Less Divisive,” May 2020, The Wall Street Journal
“[Twitter’s Trending] system has often been gamed by bots and internet trolls to spread false, hateful or misleading information.”
Kate Conger and Nicole Perlroth, “Twitter to Add Context to Trending Topics,” September 2020, The New York Times
These features should remain disabled, neutrally and across the board, until January 2021 in the U.S. This is a critical step in preventing the viral spread of disinformation — such as inaccurate voting procedures or election results — throughout the election process and the certification of the results.
As a global community of people who care about the health of the internet, we urge you to do more to curb disinformation in order to protect the integrity of the U.S. election.
Mozilla and 6,000+ internet users