Facebook Plans To Drop Rule Exempting Politicians From Being Moderated

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Matthew Brooks Contributor
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Popular social media app Facebook is expected to announce Friday that they will be removing a rule that exempted politicians from certain moderation rules.

Facebook had originally offered public officials exemptions from certain moderation rules, stating that the speech of politicians is inherently newsworthy and in the public interest, even if it was controversial, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The new rule change would make it so that the words of politicians are not automatically deemed newsworthy, and would thus be subject to rules against bullying, harassment and hate speech.

Facebook’s “newsworthiness exemption” has been in place since 2016. In a 2019 statement, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would not be an arbiter for political speech.

Nick Clegg, who heads Facebook’s public affairs has also said in the past that speech from politicians, “should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.”

This comes after the social media giant indefinitely suspended President Donald Trump on Jan 6. (RELATED: Facebook, Twitter Sue Over Florida Bill Banning ‘Deplatforming’)

Facebook cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the riot at the capitol as the reason for President Trump’s ban.

The company says that it never used the “newsworthiness” exemption for any of Trump’s posts, the AP reported.

According to The Washington Post, Facebook has said that it refused to share its policing strategies out of fear that it would result in loopholes being discovered but vowed to be more transparent about its strike system.

While they are revising their rules, Facebook is not removing the newsworthiness exemption entirely, but will instead publicly disclose when the exemption is used.