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Top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday pressed Facebook over its role in allowing the spread of dangerous misinformation, as well its internal process to weigh and implement changes designed at remedying polarization on the platform. 

“The Committee is deeply concerned about dangerous and divisive rhetoric thriving on Facebook’s platform and is considering legislation to address these issues.

From conspiracy theorists peddling false information to extremist voices urging and organizing violence, Facebook has become a breeding ground for polarization and discord,” the Democrats wrote in a letter. 

The lawmakers cited reports of Facebook groups and pages being used to post “ominous threats'' against elected officials and police officers, with threats fueled by false claims about “lies of voter fraud and rigged elections.” 

The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chair Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteHouse Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms Democrats argue Trump will incite violence again LIVE COVERAGE: Democrats conclude case against Trump MORE (D-Colo.), Communications and Technology subcommittee Chair Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleFacebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation House panel to probe conspiracy theories in the news Biden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond MORE (D-Penn.), and Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee Chair Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyFacebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation Democrats introduce measure to boost privacy, security of health data during pandemic Existing technology can eliminate drunk driving MORE (D-Ill.).

A Facebook spokesperson was not immediately available for comment in response to the letter. 

The social media giant had doubled down on its pledge to remove content spreading election misinformation shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

Just days after the riot, Facebook said it would take down content that contained the phrase “Stop the Steal,” which had become a common rallying cry around those spreading election misinformation undermining the results that former President TrumpDonald TrumpFauci: U.S. political divide over masks led to half a million COVID-19 deaths Georgia bishop says state GOP's elections bill is an 'attempt to suppress the Black vote' Trump closer to legal jeopardy after court ruling on tax returns MORE lost. The effort, however, was reported to have missed pages promoting the debunked claims. 

The Democrats also called out Facebook for not responding to multiple reported warnings about the “divisive nature of its platform.” 

“This deadly attack on the Capitol laid bare the dire consequences of hyperpolarization and extremism in our current political discourse — much of which is occurring on your platform. With more than 3 billion monthly users across different services, Facebook must play a leading role in lessening the divide and lowering the temperature,” the Democrats wrote. 

The letter cites reports that Facebook launched an internal research on divisive content and user behavior known as the “Common Ground” task force, charged with creating proposals to combat polarization on the platform, as well as “Integrity Teams,” tasked with combating “fake news,” inauthentic users and other similar issues. 

Initiatives advanced by the teams, however, reportedly had to clear an internal vetting process at Facebook that consisted of officials across Facebook’s public policy, marketing and public relations teams. 

The Democrats are questioning Facebook over reports that the recommendations were “blocked or weakened” during the vetting process. 

They asked Facebook for a detailed description of its internal vetting process, including the name and role of each person involved, and if it continues to follow the same process today. 

The lawmakers also requested Facebook provide detailed information about its internal studies on divisiveness and polarization, as well as findings and recommendations from Facebook’s Common Ground task force and the Integrity Teams. They’re also requesting answers as to how Facebook addressed or adopted the behaviors. 

The committee members are requesting Facebook’s response by March 9, just weeks before CEO and co-founder Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation Bill Gates: Social media companies should eventually allow Trump back Facebook to debunk climate change myths MORE is scheduled to testify before the committee along with Twitter CEO Mark Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. 

The hearing will focus on the spread of online misinformation, a topic on which Democrats have repeatedly slammed the platforms. 

Republicans on the committee have also pushed for a hearing with the CEOs. The Republicans have also lamented the platform’s content moderation enforcement, but the GOP members have leveled unsubstantiated claims that the tech giants are censoring content with an anti-conservative bias.

Tags Facebook Twitter Google Mark Zuckerberg Jan Schakowsky Diana DeGette Donald Trump Mike Doyle misinformation QAnon Capitol riot Capitol breach

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Tags: spreading election misinformation polarization house democrats committee chair the committee the committee the democrats facebook over the committee the spread the lawmakers common ground its internal facebook reports an internal on divisive at facebook twitter ceo

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After the Fall shoots its way onto PS VR “soon”, supports cross-platform multiplayer

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Vertigo Games is the team behind the popular VR zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine. The game was hit on release and has seen several updates drop over the years. However, it’s time for the team to kick off something new. They’re staying in the shooter genre, but moving on to snowbreed, a new type of zombie that’s sure to give you and your friends some trouble. After the Fall was revealed last year, but we’ve finally gotten another look at it alongside news that’s dropping on PS VR very soon.

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After the Fall is billing itself as “the most intense” VR shooter out there. While it’s hard to tell from the cinematic trailers they’ve shared thus far, we should have a better idea once they drop their new gameplay trailer in a few weeks. That said, if you’ve played Arizona Sunshine, you probably know what you’re getting into.

Not only is the game coming soon, but we got confirmation that it will support cross-platform multiplayer. So, if your co-op buddy has PS VR and you have an Oculus Rift, you’ll still be able to play together. That’s a welcome addition as the VR playerbase is still relatively limited. Letting everyone play together makes it that much easier to sustain a community.

Of course, After the Fall wasn’t the only game PlayStation featured on their VR Showcase today. We also got a look at Doom 3: VR Edition, I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy And The Liar, and Fracked. Fracked, in particular, looks like it could be a fun mix of gunplay and interactivity. Plus, we saw the survival game Song in the Smoke from the developers of Galak-Z. That game was such a treat, so hopefully, we have another hit on our hands.

Finally, PlayStation gave us a look at a VR MMO called Zenith that is fascinating in concept. The idea of grinding away at a massive MMORPG seems like an insane task for a developer, but what they have so far looks promising.

The post After the Fall shoots its way onto PS VR “soon”, supports cross-platform multiplayer appeared first on Gamepur.

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