The Daily Mail reports that Facebook plans to stop shielding politicians on its platform from content moderation following the suspension of former President Donald Trump from the platform. The tech giant is set to announce the policy reversal as soon as this week.
Facebook has faced criticism recently for its hands-off approach to moderating government officials and now appears to be taking proactive measures. Sources told the Verge that Facebook plans to reveal details about its secretive policies under which strikes that can lead to suspensions are issued for breaking content rules. Facebook will reportedly tell politicians when they’ve been given a strike.
The company will also now disclose when a politician’s post violates its rules and has been given a newsworthiness exemption. Facebook first unveiled policies in 2019 that allowed political leaders certain exemptions, claiming that even their false comments are newsworthy.
Posts made by politicians will still now be reviewed by fact-checkers for truthfulness as many have accused Facebook’s independent fact-checkers of bias in the past. The policy change comes after Facebook’s independent Oversight Board announced in May that it was upholding the platform’s decision to suspend former President Trump on January 7.
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“However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account,” the Oversight Board wrote in its decision.
At the time, the Oversight Board called for Facebook to review its policies and recommended that the company develop “clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.” The Oversight Board added: “The Board stated that it is not always useful to draw a firm distinction between political leaders and other influential users, recognizing that other users with large audiences can also contribute to serious risks of harm.”
Read more at the Daily Mail here.