Facebook to bar politicians from posting deceptive content

Lawrence Kim
June 5, 2021

The reported change comes as Facebook is expected to announce its response to recommendations made by the company's oversight board when it ruled on the firm's suspension of former US President Donald Trump.

Trump has been permanently banned by Twitter and remains suspended by Alphabet's YouTube after the riot. The board announced in May that Facebook was right to suspend Trump, but said that the company, not the board, would have to determine the length of Trump's suspension. "Our Country can't take this abuse anymore!"

"Facebook's ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election", Trump said in the statement.

Facebook said it would work with experts to decide when the public safety risk had subsided for Trump to be restored to its platforms.

Trump's account will not automatically be reinstated after the 2-year period is over.

The decision comes after Facebook's Oversight Board told the company it had been wrong to impose an indefinite ban on Trump after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

He later followed up with a statement hinting he would run for the presidency again and directing ire at Facebook's CEO: "Next time I'm in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife".

When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts. Twitter's crackdown on Trump's May 2020 misleading tweets about the legitimacy of mail-in voting especially added fuel to the fire, as did its ban of a New York Post story about President Joe Biden's son from late 2020.

Facebook will also introduce a strike system that could result in other leaders and politicians being suspended if they continue to break the company's rules around, for example, hate speech and inciting violence, the source said.

The move is a departure from Facebook's historically hands-off approach to moderating content from high-profile political leaders around the globe.

Politicians have typically been given leeway because Facebook operated on the assumption that their posts were newsworthy and part of the public debate.

The board also recommended Facebook review its role in the election fraud conspiracy that led to the January 6 siege, which Facebook said it would partially implement through its partnership with academics studying the role it played in the 2020 US elections.

The company is also leaving another controversial policy in place: It will continue to exempt politicians' posts and paid ads from fact-checking.

The decision and the policy changes could have major ramifications for how Facebook handles rule-breaking world leaders and officials on its services.

Facebook and Twitter now have rules that give world leaders, elected officials and political candidates greater latitude than ordinary users. It slammed the company, saying, "The same rules should apply to all users of the platform". Facebook said it was implementing 15 of the 19 board recommendations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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