Day 388: 6/11/20

Thursday brought an extra email because Joe Biden was getting frustrated with Facebook.


For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, though I have previously been on the mailing lists of 28 Democratic candidates! This blog breaks down recent emails with charts and excerpts. If you already know all of this, feel free to skip to the next chart!

It took some time for the Trump emails to kick in, so I started officially tracking his list on July 7. I have been tracking Biden’s for longer, but I will start comparing them as of July 7. All of these emails are going to a new email, and I have not donated, filled out surveys, signed petitions, or otherwise interacted with either candidate’s emails.

The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.

Extra email! For… Facebook?

On Thursday, Joe Biden sent me 4 emails to each account.

Most of them wanted money

Two of Biden’s emails wanted donations, one was asking me to sign an open letter to Facebook, and the fourth was telling me, almost exactly word-for-word identical to a previous email, that they noticed I hadn’t donated to get a Biden membership card and they had good news: they were extending the deadline so I could donate! The main difference to the wording was that they were now saying I needed to donate to the Beat Trump Fund to get the card. Other than that, everything else, even the forwarded email from DeUndre from Operations was exactly the same as the email from earlier.

Mostly fundraising

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, wanted to let me know how she tells everyone about me, and by me, she means the grassroots organizers powering the campaign. Elana Firsht, on the other hand, wanted me to know that they were 62% away from their fundraising goal for the week.

62% away means only 38% toward, which implies that what they’ve been doing hasn’t been raising the necessary funds, so… yes, repeating emails that didn’t perform the way you hoped is exactly what will get you success. (Sarcasm.)

The one email Biden sent that didn’t involve asking me for money was an open letter to Facebook he wanted me to sign to attempt to pressure Zuckerberg into reforming his platform.


Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Over the past year, the Biden for President campaign has called on Facebook to meet the commitment the company made after 2016 — to use its platform to improve American democracy rather than as a tool to spread disinformation that undermines our elections. The campaign has proposed meaningful ways to check disinformation on your platform and to limit the effect of false ads.

But Facebook has taken no meaningful action. It continues to allow Donald Trump to say anything — and to pay to ensure that his wild claims reach millions of voters. SuperPACs and other dark money groups are following his example. Trump and his allies have used Facebook to spread fear and misleading information about voting, attempting to compromise the means of holding power to account: our voices and our ballot boxes.

So where do we go from here?

We have offered the following concrete recommendations to fix the problems in Facebook’s platform that pose a threat to free and fair elections.

We call for Facebook to proactively stem the tide of false information by no longer amplifying untrustworthy content and promptly fact-checking election-related material that goes viral.

We call for Facebook to stop allowing politicians to hide behind paid misinformation in the hope that the truth will catch up only after Election Day. There should be a two-week pre-election period during which all political advertisements must be fact-checked before they are permitted to run on Facebook.

And we call for clear rules — applied to everyone, including Donald Trump — that prohibit threatening behavior and lies about how to participate in the election.

Anything less will render Facebook a tool of misinformation that corrodes our democracy. Facebook has promised better. And American voters deserve better.

Right now, we’re less than 150 days to the election. The time for setting, testing, and implementing meaningful policy to protect our elections is running out.

Facebook — do the right thing. Do your part and change your policies to ensure we have a fair election this November.

Biden HQ

Personally, I think it would be much easier to boycott Facebook than to hope a petition will get Zuckerberg to change anything. The best thing we can do now is spread information about the disinformation that happens on Facebook.

Another day, another chart.

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