Facebook will punish politicians who post misleading content.
The company will end its policy of protecting them (in most cases) from content moderation rules that affect users in general.
Facebook plans to end its policy that, in most cases, protects politicians from its content moderation rules, which apply to users in general. This change could affect, globally, elected officials or candidates who use the social network.
According to The Verge, this comes after the Supervisory Board (Oversight Board), an independent group funded by Facebook to review its judgments content, announced its decision to suspend former US President Donald Trump but criticized the deal special social network offers to politicians.
The Supervisory Board expressed: "The same rules must be applied to all users ." Thus, he gave Facebook until June 5 to respond to his policy recommendations. Facebook is also planning to make changes to the system applied to accounts that break its content rules. Today, the warning process includes informing users when they have received a notice for violating their rules that could subsequently lead to a suspension.
BuzzFeed News and other outlets long ago reported cases in which Facebook employees intervened to prevent political pages from being subject to harsh penalties under the strike policy.
Mark Zuckerberg's company, historically, has not intervened in the speeches of politicians in their posts. Company executives (including its CEO) have pointed out that it is not their business to monitor the speech of politicians.
For the last several years, the social network has had a list of political accounts that are not subject to the same data verification or content moderation processes that apply to other users. However, in 2019, a group of employees called for the list to be dissolved, citing internal research that showed people were particularly prone to believing falsehoods if shared by an elected official, The Information reported.
Two years ago in Washington, DC, Facebook's head of communications and global policy, Nick Clegg, defended the company's policy of not verifying politicians, saying it was not the role of the social network to "intervene when politicians they speak." Meanwhile, some company employees said the opposite, warning that not including politicians in data verification "is protecting content that is particularly likely to mislead."
Beyond expressly illegal content, such as child pornography, the social network would only take action against comments from politicians if they could credibly cause physical harm or discourage voting. In addition, content from other sources shared by politicians, such as news or video links, has already undergone fact-checking, a step that can greatly reduce post distribution.
Under new company policies, posts made directly by politicians will not yet be subject to review by the company's network of independent fact-checkers. But for the first time, they will be open to applying more rules for topics such as online harassment, which is applied to other users.
The policy of non-intervention for political discourse has ended in violence and has increased criticism of the social network. Former President Trump used Facebook to express hate speech, encouraging his followers to mobilize, leading to the assassination of George Floyd on Capitol Hill in January this year. In India, the country with the most Facebook users, the company has come under fire for failing to take action against violent comments made by members of the ruling party.
The new policy for Facebook could use its newsworthy exemption to leave a post that would otherwise be removed. But he would promise to reveal it when he does.