August 12, 2020/Media, Press

Senator Steinburg’s Posts Were ‘Potentially Harmful’ to Followers and Constituents, so Facebook Had to Step In

Raleigh – Several social media posts by NC Senator Bob Steinburg (R-01) have been flagged and others removed by Facebook for “promoting alternative COVID-19 treatments” just days after North Carolina’s death toll exceeded 2,100.

Steinburg’s racist social media tirades have made headlines this summer, but after he began promoting fake treatments for coronavirus, Facebook determined that his posts could “potentially cause harm” to the public.

“At a time when North Carolinians are dying from coronavirus, Bob Steinburg’s advocacy for conspiracy theories is a grotesque abuse of public trust and an abdication of his responsibility to his constituents,” said NCDP Chair Wayne Goodwin. “As public officials, we take an oath to protect and serve — he has completely abdicated that responsibility. If this is how he chooses to conduct himself, Steinburg has no business serving as an elected dogcatcher, let alone in the General Assembly.”

While Steinburg has posted about potentially dangerous fake treatments, North Carolina’s coronavirus case totals have surpassed 136,000. 

News & Observer: Facebook deleted an NC senator’s post about debunked COVID-19 video

  • A Facebook post by a North Carolina state senator has been removed by the social media platform because the post shared a debunked video promoting alternative COVID-19 treatments.
  • It’s the second time Facebook’s attempts to curb the spread of misinformation have affected a post by Sen. Bob Steinburg, who now says the government should “crack down” on social media censorship.
  • But Philip Napoli, a professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, said the First Amendment applies to speech limitations by the government, not social media companies like Facebook. 
  • A Facebook spokesperson said it had already been debunked by independent fact-checkers, and that sharing it brought the false-information flag along with it. The spokesperson added that text posts made by politicians are generally not flagged or removed, but could be deleted if deemed to potentially cause harm.
  • “These are not government services,” [Donald Bryson, president and CEO of the NC Civitas Institute, a conservative policy organization] said. “People are under no contractual obligation to expect anything from Facebook, or Twitter.”