Facebook will start to add a label to all “newsworthy” content such as statements from politicians that would otherwise violate the company’s policies, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday.
The label acts as “a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our [Facebook] policies,” Zuckerberg said in an announcement. However, Facebook will “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,” he added.
Zuckerberg said that the company sometimes leaves up “content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm.”
“Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” he continues, adding that Facebook will “soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.”
Facebook is taking additional steps to “fight voter suppression” by tightening policies to “ban any content that misleads people on when or how they can vote.”
“We will also ban posts that make false claims saying ICE agents are checking for immigration papers at polling places, which is a tactic used to discourage voting,” Zuckerberg said.
“We’ll also remove any threats of coordinated interference, like someone saying ‘My friends and I will be doing our own monitoring of the polls to make sure only the right people vote,’ which can be used to intimidate voters,” he added. “We will continue to review our voter suppression policies on an ongoing basis as part of our work on voter engagement and racial justice.”
Zuckerberg clarified that Facebook will take down “content that incites violence or suppresses voting,” saying even if a politician or government official posts such content, “there is no newsworthiness exemption” in such a case.
A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that its new policy would have meant attaching a link on voting information to U.S. President Donald Trump’s post last month about mail-in ballots. Rival Twitter had affixed a fact-checking label to that post.
Facebook will also start adding new labels to all posts about voting that will direct users to authoritative information from state and local election officials.
“We are adopting a policy of attaching a link to our Voting Information Center for posts that discuss voting, including from politicians,” Zuckerberg wrote. “This isn’t a judgment of whether the posts themselves are accurate, but we want people to have access to authoritative information either way.
Zuckerberg also announced that the company will ban ads “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.”
“We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them,” he announced.