Business leaders call for ‘patience and civility’ ahead of US election, tying economic health to democracy
Business leaders are calling on Americans to be patient and civil ahead of the 2020 presidential election, citing the importance of maintaining confidence in democracy during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 50 executives across the fields of tech, finance, retail, and real estate signed onto a statement released Wednesday by the Leadership Now Project, a group founded by Harvard Business School alumni focused on protecting democracy.
“America has successfully held elections through previous challenges, like the Civil War, World Wars l and ll, and the 1918 flu pandemic… we can and must do so again,” the group said in the statement. “As business leaders, we know firsthand that the health of America’s economy and markets rests on the founding principle of our democracy: elections where everyone’s vote is counted.”
The statement was backed by big names in business, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, former Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, and General Assembly chief executive Lisa Lewin. Massachusetts executives on the list include Seth Klarman of Baupost Group, Tricia Glynn of Advent International, Trinidad Grange-Kyner from Tufts Health Plan, and Eric Spindt from Commonwealth Financial Group.
The group emphasized that it could take weeks or more until election results are confirmed because of the number of citizens voting by mail this year. They asked Americans to stay calm, “making it clear that they will refuse to accept any results called too early or based on insufficient data.”
The statement also called on journalists to “avoid calling the election before sufficient data are available,” and asked business leaders to “promote patience and civility among employees, communities, and the American people.”
LinkedIn’s Hoffman wrote that “election results inaccurately or prematurely reported by journalists, elected officials
Sacha Baron Cohen just slammed Facebook for being a home for conspiracy theories that could ‘kill democracy as we know it’
- Actor Sacha Baron Cohen wrote an op-ed for Time condemning social media platforms for allowing misinformation to spread, and he singled out Facebook in particular.
- The “Borat” actor, who has come out hard against Facebook before, said the company is a “dutiful ally” to President Donald Trump and attacked the firm for its failure to fact-check misleading political ads and posts.
- Cohen wrote how the “trifecta” of President Trump, Facebook, and the spread of misinformation has created “a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness” leading up to the 2020 election that could “kill democracy as we know it.”
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Actor Sacha Baron Cohen in an op-ed for Time Magazine called for an end to the proliferation of conspiracy theories on social media platforms — and the actor zeroed in on Facebook specifically.
The actor slammed the company for the role it has played in misinformation spreading online, calling out Facebook’s algorithm that is designed to promote content that more people find interesting. Cohen also called Facebook out for its refusal to fact-check political ads and remove misleading posts.
The actor pointed out that conspiracy theories are more easily spread during times of uncertainty.
“Donald Trump — who averages 23 lies a day and is the world’s greatest superspreader of coronavirus conspiracies —has caught the virus himself. He has a dutiful ally in Facebook — the greatest propaganda machine in history. And this is a time when Americans are especially vulnerable to lies and conspiracies. This trifecta has created a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness,” Cohen wrote in the op-ed.
Cohen’s damning remarks come as the 2020 presidential election looms just
A self-appointed Facebook watchdog group formed by academics and advocates claim the company has not done enough to clamp down on misinformation and protect democracy ahead of the 2020 election.
The “Real Facebook Oversight Board” claimed at a virtual press conference on Wednesday that the platform has “actively and knowingly facilitated the flow of poison into the population.” The group said it was formed as an emergency intervention aimed at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his employees to protect the integrity of the general election.
“We demand comprehensive action to ensure Facebook cannot be weaponized to undermine the vote and with it American democracy,” said Shoshana Zuboff, a member of the board, author and professor emeritus at Harvard Business School. “History is watching.”
The 24-person board called for Facebook to take three immediate steps in order to protect U.S. democracy. First, it is calling for a ban on all paid advertising mentioning presidential election results in the critical period when the ballots are being counted. It said the ban should run from election night until one candidate is declared president-elect and the other concedes, adding this could prevent violence from breaking out if the results are contested.
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Secondly, the group said there should be “strict oversight” of all posts that mention the presidential election results in the same period, including the labeling of posts about election results as untrue until one candidate is declared president-elect.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the board said Facebook should “enforce its own policies” to remove content that incites violence. It cited a recent example in a Facebook campaign ad when