Facebook to End Long Time Exception for Politicians

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Facebook plans to end its policy, which largely shields politicians from the content moderation rule that applies to most users – a striking shift that could have global implications for the way elected officials use social media.

The change, to be announced on Friday, comes after the Oversight Board – an independent group funded by Facebook to review its decisions on content – confirmed its move to permanently block former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Facebook account.

But, the group criticized the special treatment the social media giant is said to be giving politicians, claiming the same rules should apply to all users.

The panel gave Facebook until June 5 to respond to its policy recommendations.

Facebook also plans to shed light on the secretive system of strikes that gives it accounts for violations of its content rules, including notifying users if they have received a strike for violating rules that could lead to suspension.

The social media giant will also disclose when it will use a special exemption on newsworthiness to store content from politicians and others that would otherwise violate its rules.

Facebook also maintains a list of political accounts that are not subject to the same fact-checking or content moderation processes that apply to other users.

A group of staffers called for the list to be dissolved in 2019, citing internal research that showed people are most likely to believe lies if they come from an elected official.

The policy of “hands-off” political speech drew heavy criticism when Trump used Facebook to stir up division and hatred after the killing of George Floyd and later praised his supporters in their deadly attempt to take over the U.S. Capitol in January.

For more information, read the original story in The Verge.

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