Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rolled out new rules for the platform in a Facebook post Friday, most notably that the company would place labels on posts from public officials that violate user policies.
The Facebook post stated that “problematic content” from public officials would include “a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate [Facebook] policies.” Zuckerberg mentioned that “newsworthy” posts found in violation of user policies would not be removed, however, stating that “seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest.”
One major clarification was that “content that incites violence or suppresses voting” would be taken down, even if it was posted by a public official. The “newsworthy” exemption would not apply to posts of that manner, and Zuckerberg also stated that Facebook was creating a new team to monitor and “remove false claims” about voting.
Facebook’s decision to more aggressively target platform violations is a major reversal from the company’s long-standing refusal to directly address content from public officials, according to The Washington Post.
Facebook faced backlash after the company refused to remove or flag a May 29 post from President Donald Trump that stated “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” The Washington Post reported. The comment was in reference to multiple instances of rioting and looting that have taken place during the George Floyd protests.
Some groups, including presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, viewed the post as threatening and criticized Facebook for not addressing it. A tweet from the president including the same language was flagged by Twitter. (RELATED: Here Are The Tech Giants That Took A Stand For BLM But Are Bending The Knee To Beijing)
A number of companies, including Verizon and Patagonia, also pulled their ads from the platform over growing criticism of Facebook, according to Business Insider. Many of these companies were associated with the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, an advocacy group that puts pressure on tech companies to address “hate speech.”
Zuckerberg also met with civil rights groups prior to Friday’s decision in order to determine what changes to include, Politico reported. Other measures that were added include new restrictions on “hate speech” in ads and the creation of a “voting information center” to promote civic engagement.