New rules on Facebook: Posts from politicians are not automatically “newsworthy”

The social group is demonstrably working to change its own guidelines for dealing with content that comes from politicians. The impetus for this was provided by the permanent exclusion of ex-US President Donald Trump.

So far, Facebook has taken the view that the posts by politicians are always relevant to the public on Facebook. This has already led to numerous debates, as the social platform did not remove, for example, racist and discriminatory content from people who play a role in politics. Probably the greatest criticism of Facebook was that posts by ex-President Donald Trump remained on his account, even though they had already been removed from other social platforms.

Now the relatively new oversight board, which evaluates problematic content as well as users and their removal, continued to block the former head of state – and thus initiated the changes to the previously prevailing content rules. Because like the online magazine The Verge reports, Facebook is working on new guidelines that do not automatically classify posts from politicians as “newsworthy”. Such problematic content would then be checked and deleted using a standardized procedure.

Facebook: Exemption for politicians: inside should be abolished

So far, Facebook executives – including Mark Zuckerberg – have proclaimed that private companies should not take on the role of arbitrator in political debates. If a: e politician: were to post in problematic statements, that would still be of interest to the people. Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, stated in a speech at the Atlantic Festival in Washington DC:

Facebook has had a newsworthiness exemption since 2016. This means that if someone makes a statement or shares a post which breaks our community standards we will still allow it on our platform if we believe the public interest in seeing it outweighs the risk of harm. Today, I announced that from now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard.

The Facebook employees also noticed that this is not always entirely safe because it would spread false information more quickly. So demanded a group of employees of the social group already in 2019that the exemptions for politicians will be abolished.

Now Facebook seems to be listening not only to these demands, but also to the recommendations of the oversight board. Because the independent body spoke out in favor of abolishing the exemptions for politicians. When Facebook will change its own content rules and whether there will continue to be exceptions for high-ranking politicians, for example, is still unclear. Facebook sometimes did not comment on the topic.

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