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Facebook to label politicians’ hate speech as advertisers pull out

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San Francisco: As more advertisers pull out of its platform over poor handling of hate speech and misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Saturday that the social network will put warning labels on all posts that break its rules but are deemed newsworthy.

The announcement came after several top-notch advertisers like Coca-Cola, Hershey and Honda joined over 100 brands who have decided to boycott advertising on Facebook.


Facebook’s decision now opens the door to label controversial posts by US President Donald Trump. Twitter has already flagged couple of his controversial tweets while Facebook is facing widespread criticism for its inaction over Trump posts that glorified violence in the aftermath of the death of African-American George Floyd.

Zucekrberg said that they will soon start labelling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.

“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 explained.

There is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.

“Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down,” Zuckerberg said adding that there are no exceptions for “politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today”.

Earlier, telecom carrier Verizon announced to pull ads from Facebook and Instagram, joining advertisers like apparel brand North Face, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, outdoor apparel stores REI and Patagonia, freelancing platform Upwork, shipping company Local Postal, password manager Dashlane and outwear company Arc’teryx to boycott the social network.

Facebook makes about 98 per cent of its $70 billion annual revenue from advertising.

Zuckerberg also detailed plans to tighten policies ahead of the 2020 elections.

“Since the most dangerous voter suppression campaigns can be local and run in the days immediately before an election, we’re going to use our Elections Operations Center to quickly respond and remove false claims about polling conditions in the 72 hours leading into election day,” announced the Facebook CEO.

He said that Facebook will also ban posts that make false claims saying ICE agents are checking for immigration papers at polling places, which is a tactic used to discourage voting.