Investors are pushing for social media checks ahead of the inauguration in the US

Pension fund managers and religious investors on Friday asked top social media companies to step up content control efforts to lessen the threat of violence before US President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week.

The effort is the latest pressure on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet for extreme rhetoric following the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Donald Trump.

In letters sent Thursday, investors – including New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the Service Employees International Union, and the Unitarian Universalist Association – called for steps like disabling coding, which they said were conspiracy theories and radicalizing Increase content, as well as for companies to continue to mark content with hashtags like #Stopthesteal.

In the long term, board members and executives will have to “review their business model and their dependence on algorithmic decisions associated with the spread of hatred and disinformation on the Internet,” the letters said.

Representatives of the alphabet did not answer questions. A Facebook spokesperson said he banned over 250 white supremacist groups and enforced rules preventing militias from organizing on their platform. A representative from Twitter cited measures such as blocking accounts that mainly share QAnon content.

According to researchers and public posts, violent rhetoric on social media platforms has increased in recent weeks as groups openly scheduled for the Washington meeting, which sparked criticism of the companies for not taking action in advance.

Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts last week as the tech giants sought to tackle Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the US presidential election.

The activist investors collectively manage around $ 390 billion in assets, but hold relatively small stakes in the social media companies. Top shareholders in this space have so far declined to comment on their responses, including BlackRock Inc Vanguard Group Inc and Morgan Stanley.

Trump’s bans have raised concerns among other investors that users and advertisers would be leaving for different platforms. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said the decision was the right one, but it has set a dangerous precedent. Sheryl Sandberg, operations manager for Facebook, said the company has no plans to lift its ban.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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