On Monday, the day before the first presidential debate, the presidential campaign for Joe Biden sent a letter to Facebook accusing the company of failing to meet its promises to keep disinformation off its platform, specifically citing the fact it has allowed certain posts from President Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., to remain up.
The letter, obtained by FOX Business, quotes Facebook's pledge to clear "up confusion about how this election will work' and 'tak[e] steps to reduce the changes' of distrust in our democracy and unrest.'" But it says "Facebook's actual conduct in recent days paints a very different picture."
The story was first reported by Axios.
The letter cites a video from Trump Jr. saying that "those who oppose his father have a 'plan to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election,'" and posts from Trump himself encouraging voters to vote by mail then go to polling places and ask to vote again. To attempt to vote twice is illegal. The Trump administration has said the president was simply asking voters to verify their votes had been counted.
"These posts clearly violated your policies as well by wrongly suggesting that there is considerable doubt about whether mail votes will be counted," the Biden campaign said. "They also violate your prohibition of 'misrepresentations about voting logistics, methods, or requirements.'"
A similar battle over campaign social media posts has played out on Twitter as well, with Trump apparently encouraging followers to illegally try to vote twice in North Carolina and Twitter then flagging his tweet for violating platform rules. The Trump campaign attempted earlier this month to get Twitter to flag a Biden campaign post that clipped words from a Trump speech the same way as an ad from earlier this year that got "four Pinocchios" in a Washington Post fact check. Twitter refused to flag that post as manipulated media as the Trump campaign requested.
Mail voting has become a contentious issue ahead of the presidential election, with Trump and his allies warning it could lead to fraud while Democrats have encouraged voters to take advantage of loosened mail voting laws to reduce the chance of coronavirus spread. Experts note that despite anecdotes like the municipal election in Paterson, N.J., earlier this year in which four people were indicted for mail voting fraud and a do-over election was called, mail vote fraud is rare and would be extraordinarily difficult to scale-up in a way that could affect a statewide or national race.
Experts do say, however, that with many states racing to put together new mail voting systems amid the pandemic, logistical problems could lead to disenfranchisement and delays in counting ballots.
"I think there is some question about the states that are doing it for the first time, whether they're going to have procedures in place," Darrell West, the vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution told Fox News earlier this year. "I think one of the big issues this year is going to be the signature verification ... I think this is the thing people should be focused on, because that's where the litigation is going to occur and where the controversy is going to be."
He added: "Local officials have a fair amount of discretion in validating or invalidating signatures ... And of course, that's a tricky business ... We see that in trials where there are expert witnesses whose job is to identify particular signatures."