Facebook reportedly intends to end a policy that effectively exempts politicians from content moderation rules.
The Verge reported Thursday that the social media company is expected to announce its new policy on Friday. The change comes as Facebook faces mounting criticism from journalists, lawmakers and its own employees for allowing world leaders and politicians to use its platform to spread disinformation, quash criticism and harass opponents.
The company is also expected to announce a response to its independent supervisory board, which recently advised against reinstating Donald Trump’s Facebook account. The platform had suspended Trump’s account after the former president shared messages in which he appeared to praise the rioters who stormed the U.S. capital during the deadly January 6 riots.
As part of its non-binding recommendations, the board said the same rules should apply to all users and that Facebook’s existing policies, such as deciding when material is too newsworthy to be viewed. deleted or when to take action on an influential account, need to be more clearly communicated to users. The council also said heads of state and government officials may have greater power to cause damage.
Facebook declined to comment.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have long argued that businesses shouldn’t censor what politicians share. Although it has taken steps to tackle the disinformation shared by some leaders in the United States, amid scrutiny, a Guardian investigation found it was allowing major abuses of its platform in many areas. small non-western countries.
The Guardian reported in April that the platform “has repeatedly failed to take timely action when presented with evidence of widespread manipulation and abuse of its tools by political leaders around the world.” .
The policy that Facebook is expected to announce this week will end before subjecting politicians’ posts to the same independent fact-checking other sources share. However, the new policy will expand the moderator’s ability to enforce harassment rules against politicians, according to the Verge.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long argued that the company should not control politicians’ speech. The company currently exempts politicians’ posts and advertisements from its third-party fact-checking program and its “media value exemption” allows politicians to post rule-breaking articles on the site if the public interest outweighs the prejudice – although Facebook said it did not apply its media allowance in the Trump case.
In the council’s recommendations, he stressed that “media interest” considerations should not be given priority when urgent action is needed on the platform to avoid “significant harm”.
The board gave Facebook six months to decide on a “proportionate response” to the Trump case, which could see the former president’s account restored, blocked permanently, or suspended for a specified period of time.
Facebook has yet to announce a decision on the former president’s reinstatement on its platforms.