June 28, 2020
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday that the social media network will label but leave up posts deemed "newsworthy" that violate company policies.
"We 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," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post, according to The Hill.
"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," he added.
He pointed specifically to posts from politicians, writing that "we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm."
Zuckerberg emphasized though that politicians and government officials are not exempt from the new policy, and their posts will be taken down if the company determines it could incite violence or lead to voter suppression.
While Zuckerberg did not specifically mention US President Donald Trump, the reversal comes as the platform was facing growing criticism for not taking action to label posts from Trump that violate Facebook policies.
Facebook has recently faced a wide-ranging advertising boycott over allegations that it has not done enough to combat hate speech.
In his post, Zuckerberg detailed new policies to take action on this issue, announcing that Facebook was expanding its advertising policies to ban "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 advertising policy will also be expanded to ensure that immigrants, asylum-seekers, migrants and refugees are not targeted with ads directing disgust or intimidation at them.
Trump has come under fire for posting negative comments about mail-in voting in recent weeks and also for social media posts regarding the recent protests following the death of George Floyd.
Earlier this week, Twitter hid a tweet from Trump in which he threatened to use "serious force" against protesters in the US capital, saying it broke rules over abusive content.
Previously, it attached a warning to some of Trump's tweets, prompting readers to fact-check the president's claims.
In response, Trump signed an executive order aimed at increasing the ability of the government to regulate social media platforms.
Twitter's steps to label misinformation in Trump's tweets has placed more pressure on Facebook to take action.
Zuckerberg earlier this month defended the company's previous policy not to take action over some of Trump's Facebook posts, particularly one that Twitter labeled for inciting violence against individuals participating in protests stemming from the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis.
Many Facebook employees and civil rights groups pushed back against Facebook's decision at the time, with Jason Toff, director of product management, tweeting that he was "not proud" of the company's position.