June 24, 2021

Facebook Plans to End Hands-Off Approach to Politicians’ Posts

Around the world, political leaders have also tried to curtail Facebook’s power over online speech, while using social media to advance their own agendas. Russia, India and other countries have recently ordered Facebook to pull down posts, even as some of their own politicians have tried to influence citizens with Facebook posts.

In the United States, Florida last month became the first state to regulate how companies like Facebook moderate speech online, by imposing fines on companies that permanently bar political candidates in the state.

Other social media companies have also made exceptions for world leaders. Twitter for years gave extra leeway to politicians who violated its rules, allowing their posts to remain on its platform because, it said, the information was in the public’s interest.

In 2019, Twitter said it would continue allowing world leaders to post harassing or abusive messages, but would hide them behind a warning label. Last year, Twitter began enforcing its rules more forcefully, removing several tweets from world leaders such as President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

On Friday, Facebook also plans to shed more light on how it penalizes rule-breakers and major outlets that post offensive content on the social network, the people with knowledge of the plans said. That will include a fuller explanation of its “strikes” process, a way the company tallies up infractions made by accounts or Pages that broke its rules.

Facebook has been criticized for its lack of transparency around applying strikes and for uneven enforcement of its rules, particularly against high-profile accounts of conservatives. Insiders have questioned whether some of Facebook’s policy executives were too lenient on right-wing figures who regularly ran afoul of content policy.

Kate Conger contributed reporting.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/technology/facebook-politicians-posts.html

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