Facebook Adds Labels for Some Posts as Advertisers Pull Back

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9.7.2020 | Facebook Adds Labels for Some Posts as Advertisers Pull Back

Posts about voting will direct viewers to accurate information, and violations from important political figures will be marked “newsworthy.”

Facebook rolled out measures on Friday to add more context to problematic political posts on its site, as the social network grappled with a growing outcry from some of its largest advertisers over the issue of hateful speech.

Facebook said it would attach labels to all posts across its network that discuss the subject of voting, in a move intended to hamper any disenfranchisement of voters in the November election. The labels will direct users to accurate voting information, the company said.

In addition, Facebook said it would expand its policies around hate speech and prohibit a wider category of hateful language in ads on the site. A post that violates Facebook’s rules but is from an important political figure, such as President Trump, will get a label saying it was deemed “newsworthy” enough to remain, the company said.

Facebook has also been grappling with an internal uproar over Mr. Trump’s inflammatory posts. Employees staged a virtual walkout this month in protest of Mr. Zuckerberg’s position of allowing the posts to remain. Some of the company’s earliest workers have also implored the chief executive to change his mind in an open letter.

Mr. Zuckerberg has refused to budge, though he said he and others on his policy team will review the company’s rules.

Since then, Facebook has made modifications that do not require it to pull down hateful speech but that give people more options with such posts. The company said this month that it would allow people in the United States to opt out of seeing social-issue, electoral or political ads from candidates or political action committees in their Facebook or Instagram feeds, for example.

On Friday, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a livestreamed address to his employees, “I’m committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other.”

He added, “But I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that no matter where it comes from.”

He said the definition of hate speech would grow to prohibit ads that claim “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.” He said the policy would expand to protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers “from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”

For posts on voting, the company said it would attach links to what Facebook calls its “voter information center,” an initiative it has pushed in recent weeks to provide users with more data on elections.


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