Facebook to end 'newsworthiness' exemption for politicians

Facebook To End Special Treatment For Politicians After Trump Ban: Report

Last month, the Oversight Board upheld Facebook's suspension of former US President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6.

After the two year period is up, Clegg said Facebook would "evaluate" the "risk to public safety" to determine if the suspension should be extended or lifted.

Trump responded to Facebook's decision with a statement of his own. He added that additional scrutiny would be applied to Trump's account when it is restored, and that he could still be permanently banned from the platform for future behavior. The former president in early May launched a blog where followers could keep track of his statements and public remarks, but his team took down the site within a month after it failed to gain significant traffic online.

The social media giant is now mulling over what to do with the account of former President Donald Trump, which it "indefinitely" suspended January 6, leaving it in Facebook limbo with its owners unable to post.

Just minutes after Facebook announced its decision, Trump issued a statement saying that the ruling was an "insult" to those, who voted for him in the 2020 presidential election. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. "Our Country can't take this abuse anymore!" the press release stated. The company will review the ban at the end of this period and will assess whether to reinstate the accounts after consulting with experts.

We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. The company said that Trump's suspension should last two years, which would potentially allow him to return to the social network in time to run for president again in 2024.

Social media companies have grappled in recent years with how to handle world leaders and politicians who violate their guidelines.

Facebook and Twitter now have rules that give world leaders, elected officials and political candidates greater latitude than ordinary users.

The company said it now would weigh violative content from politicians against the potential risk of harm in the same way it does for all users. The company says it has never used the newsworthiness exemption for any of Trump's posts.

The change in policy was first reported Thursday by the tech site The Verge and later confirmed by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

That's a reversal of how Facebook has treated politicians since 2019, when Clegg said the company believed political speech was "newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard".

Facebook has come under fire from those who think it should abandon its hands-off approach to political speech, but has also been criticized by those, including Republican lawmakers and some free-expression advocates, who saw the Trump ban as a disturbing act of censorship.

Because those accounts can have outsized impact, if they break the rules "in ways that incite or celebrate ongoing violent disorder or civil unrest", they face suspensions ranging from one month to two years, compared with the standard penalty of up to 30 days. Facebook is also publishing new details about its "strike system" and "newsworthiness" policies in response to Oversight Boards recommendations.

Facebook said it was "committed to fully implementing" most of the board's recommendations.

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