A group of investors with a collective $391 billion in assets called on major social media companies to address the "urgent threat" of violence leading up to the presidential inauguration and beyond.
A letter sent Thursday by dozens of institutional investors including public pension funds, asset managers and religious organizations to the chief executives and board directors of Facebook, Twitter and Google's parent, Alphabet, urged the companies "to take immediate action to reduce the amplification of false and divisive information used to incite violence — not only in these critical next few days but also on a more permanent basis."
One signer, New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, said in an emailed statement that the companies "control platforms that have been used to spread the conspiracy theories, racial hatred and lies that led to the attacks on our democracy. They have an enormous responsibility to ensure they're not being used again to incite violence in the lead up to President-elect Biden's inauguration." Mr. DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the $226.4 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany.
Suggested actions include disabling promotional algorithms and flagging content for review before publishing. In the longer term, the investors said, the companies must address business models that rely on algorithmic decision-making that has been linked to the spread of hate and disinformation online.
Failing to take "swift and comprehensive steps," the investors told the social media companies, would expose them to significant material risks, as well as pose reputational, regulatory and financial risks, the investor letter said.