Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform will start to label posts from politicians and other public figures that may violate its policies, while removing posts that incite violence or suppress 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 wrote in a blog post.
The new policies bring Facebook in closer alignment with Twitter, which drew the ire of President Donald Trump and a number of his supporters when it started to put fact checks and other warnings on some of his tweets.
Zuckerberg has faced criticism from activist and civil rights for not taking greater steps to remove incendiary content. On Friday, Unilever joined other companies in announcing that they would not place ads on the platform, as well as on Instagram and Twitter. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” the company said. Activist and other groups have been organizing a boycott of Facebook.
Zuckerberg wrote that they are prohibiting a wider category of “hateful content” in ads, with prohibitions on claims that people from “a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.”
When it comes to regular posts, Facebook has been leaving up content from public figures that otherwise would violate their policies, “if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” he wrote.
But he said that the labels will give users a chance to know when content is deemed objectionable.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.