Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said the company will begin labeling posts from politicians that violate its policies, but are newsworthy— a significant climb down for the social media giant as it faces criticism from civil rights groups and advertisers for its handling of misinformation and hateful content.
The policy doesn’t apply to posts that incite violence or encourage voter suppression, which Facebook takes down.
Labeling content is an approach developed recently by Twitter, which has flagged President Donald Trump’s tweets for “glorifying violence” or including “manipulated media.”
Zuckerberg previously had insisted that putting a warning or label on posts would be inappropriate, saying earlier this month it “has a risk of leading us to editorialize on content we don’t like.”
Facebook also announced Friday it will ban ads that claim people of certain racial groups or ethnicities are a threat to the safety or health of anyone else or ads that suggest immigrants and refugees are inferior.
“We’re still going to allow people to share this content in order to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content because this is an important part of how we discuss what is acceptable in our society. But we’re going to add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” Zuckerberg said during a livestreamed internal town hall meeting.
Facebook shares fell more than 7% on Friday following a growing boycott from major companies, including Unilever, Verizon, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia, over what they say is Facebook’s failure to address fake news and hate speech. Civil rights groups, such as the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign on June 17 after the company didn’t take action against a series of Trump’s tweets earlier this month, including one warning that “looting” would lead to “shooting” of protesters.
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