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Election 2020

Facebook Removes Racist and Misogynistic Posts About Kamala Harris

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Social media network Facebook has taken down multiple racist and misogynistic posts about Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. 

What We Know: 

  • With the 2020 election being called for President-elect Joe Biden, many have taken to Facebook to post about their dissatisfaction. Social media has seen a rise in hateful content, most notably from Donald Trump supporters. 
  • BBC News reported to Facebook three hate groups who regularly posted hateful posts of Kamala Harris. The posts accused Harris of not being a US citizen because her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica. Comments also surfaced that she is not “black enough” and should be “deported to India”. Facebook swiftly deleted the accounts. 
  • Facebook says 90% of hate speech is taken down before it is flagged, but critics believe this is not enough. Many believe that if the content were not reported, Facebook would ignore it. Media Matters President Angelo Carusone stated, “Facebook’s removal of this content only after it’s been flagged to them by the media confirms that the rules and guidelines they establish are hollow because they put little to no effort into detection and enforcement.” 
  • Carusone also described the hate groups as “low-hanging fruit” that Facebook doesn’t notice “until flagged by a third party”.
  • Many seem to agree that Facebook is not doing enough to stop the hate. Anti-racism advocates argue that hate speech can even be promoted on Facebook. Rishad Robsinson of Stop Hate for Profit says Facebook has “created a set of algorithms that [sic] incentivize people to spread hate”. Recently, in August, hundreds of companies protested Facebook and refused to advertise with the company as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.

Facebook users may have noticed warning labels under misleading posts. Whether Facebook will take a similar approach with hateful material or remove it altogether is unknown.

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Election 2020

Ice Cube breaks Silence After the Presidential Election

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Rapper Ice Cube, who has recently been very politically active on social media and even in the White House, has broken his silence in a Twitter video after not posting following the Nov. 3rd election.

What We Know:

  • Ice Cube was under fire back in October for working with the Trump administration prior to the election regarding Trump’s Platinum Plan for Black Americans. Earlier this year, the rapper called for systematic change in his new The Hill op-ed article and proposed his “Contract with Black America,” which aims to seek reparations for racial inequalities within the banking and finance industries, criminal justice system, policing, education, and Hollywood.
  • After facing backlash for aiding the President, Ice Cube decided to take a break from posting on social media. In the recently uploaded video, he says, “About 10 days or two weeks before the election, I pushed back — all the way until pretty much now because I just felt it was a lot of noise; a lot of poison.” He added that “A lot of people that had their own agendas — personal agendas or party agendas — and they really wanted to attack me for what I was doing because it was outside of the line of what they were doing, or what they believe needs to be done.”

  • He continues to reinforce his previous statement, that “both sides are lacking and they gotta do better,” and clarifies that his cause is one that needs to be acknowledged by both parties. On Twitter, he adds, “I think we’ve just focused on one party for way too long,” he continued. “Some of us are getting taken care of with that, and a lot of the community is not.”
  • Despite working alongside the Trump administration on developing the Platinum Plan, Ice Cube made it clear that he did not endorse the President’s reelection and actually sent the Contract with Black America to both Democrats and Republicans.

Ice Cube ends his video by sharing developments in his plan, saying he’s been “working behind the scenes” to modify the contract and partner with “major companies.” He then concludes by addressing those who criticized his efforts.

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Coronavirus

Formal Transition Between Trump and Biden Administrations Begin

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The Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

What We Know:

  • Emily Murphy sent a letter to the Biden team informing them that he has been ascertained as the winner of the 2020 presidential election by the General Services Administration. This will give the Biden transition team access to the necessary federal agencies and funding.
  • Although President Trump has not formally conceded the election to President-elect Biden, the GSA ascertainment is the first step in the peaceful transition of power. Trump tweeted some mixed messages over the past couple of days, recommending that the GSA and his team move forward with “initial protocols,” but also not conceding and even saying that the GSA ascertainment does not decide the presidency.

  • Murphy said that she came to her decision independently and was not directed by the president. “I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” said Murphy.
  • The Biden team had already begun the preparations for his presidency, well before the GSA ascertainment. Biden had already assembled a team for the pandemic response and announced several Cabinet picks.

  • The delay in ascertainment was detrimental for the Biden transition because it meant that they could not contact federal agencies, use government funding, or get access to Covid-19 data and vaccine distribution plans. They could not even get federal background checks on the White House staff and Cabinet appointments.

The transition process’s formal beginning is a crucial and necessary step for the incoming administration, especially for their coronavirus response. The US is already well past 12 million confirmed cases and nearing 260,000 deaths.

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Election 2020

Georgia’s Secretary of State Goes on Facebook Fact-Checking Spree Over Trump’s Misinformation

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger took to Facebook in a series of posts to fact-check Trump’s misinformation about the election.

What We Know:

  • Over the weekend, Trump falsely tweeted, “The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!”
  • Raffensberg promptly shared a link on his Facebook page from the Associated Press fact-checking Trump’s tweet. AP News informed readers that there is nothing within the legal settlement that keeps Georgia election officials from checking signatures. Their website explains the signed consent decree focuses on the lack of standards statewide for assessing signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.
  • Absentee ballots requested on a paper application must be signed. The signature is compared by election officials to the signature in the voter’s registration system before the ballot is sent to the voter. Once the ballot returns, the obligatory signature on the outside of the envelope is compared to the signature in the voter registration file. The entire process is detailed in the consent decree, which was signed in March.
  • Accompanying the link, the GOP Secretary of State added to the opposition of Trump’s tweet stating, “The State of Georgia strengthened signature match this year.” He also advised that election officials were provided with signature match training from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They were also required to confirm the signature match twice before casting the ballot. Finally, they generated an online portal for absentee ballots that checked and confirmed the voter’s driver’s licenses. He proceeded to say Georgia voters cast their ballots in secret to avoid intimidation from political parties and candidates to change their votes. The post ended with him “upholding their duty to protect the integrity of the vote.”
  • In another post, Raffensperger wrote, “The state of Georgia has had no excuse absentee ballots since 2005—”. No excuse absentee voting means any voter is permitted to request a mail ballot without supplying an excuse. “Only those who request a ballot can vote absentee”, he continued. He attached a screenshot below of a tweet from Trump in July saying that absentee ballots are fine because there is a precise process one must go through to get voting privilege, but mail-in ballots were not. He insinuated 20% fraudulent ballots due to mail-ins and a rigged election.
  • Collectively, Georgia’s Secretary of State made about seven posts on his Facebook page in rebuttal to Trump’s misinforming tweet. He disclosed that his office received multiple requests to match ballots to voters and expose how Georgians voted. “Georgia voters deserve to vote without intimidation,” he wrote, emphasizing his stance in valuing truth and integrity. He also noted that the first thing he did as Secretary of State was push legislation that banned absentee ballot harvesting. Raffensperger included that for the first time since 2005, he and his team secured and strengthened absentee voting. He shared more screenshots of Trump advocating for absentee ballots while shutting down mail-in votes as well.

In the final post of his debunking series, Raffernsperger called out U.S. Representative Doug Collins as a “failed candidate” and liar. This comes days after Collins said the Secretary of State’s team was responsible for the necessary recount in Georgia.

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