Facebook’s Chief Executive Office (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, 26 June, announced that the platform will now remove content that incites violence or suppresses voting – even from politicians – adding that there is no “newsworthiness” exemption to such content.
Facebook has also said that it will label posts that may violate its policies but the content will be allowed to stay on the platform because it is deemed newsworthy.
“We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society – but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies,” Zuckerberg said in a post.
The move comes at a time when the social networking site is facing backlash over the handling of hate speech online from employees, public and companies, who have in turn pulled advertising from the platform.
Reportedly, the companies share fell by 8.3 percent on Friday after Unilever boycotted ads on Facebook.
Until very recently, Facebook had made it clear that the platform doesn’t consider the language that Trump uses to suppress voting as voter suppression and had called it “legitimate debate”.
Unlike Twitter which has started affixing a warning label to manupilated content or hate speech even from politicians, Facebook has had a long-standing policy of not addressing hate speech from politicians such as US President Donald Trump.
What Are the New Policy Changes?
In addition to labelling content from politicians, Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will also work towards providing information on voting during the pandemic.
“We'll be showing the Voting Information Center at the top of the Facebook and Instagram apps over the coming months,” Zuckerberg said adding that the platform will remove coordinated efforts which are likely to interfere with the voting process.
Facebook also said that the company is expanding its ad policy to “prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.”
The policy will also expand to ads which suggest that immigrants, migrants and refugees are inferior in any manner.
However, Facebook spokesperson Tom Reynolds has said that the Facebook’s policies are retroactive and will not apply to earlier posts even if it’s posted again, reported The Washington Post.