Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faced a swell of criticism after announcing that Facebook would not be fact-checking posts that are misleading or untrue. In fact, he criticized Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for fact-checking a tweet by Donald Trump spreading false information on mail-in voting. On Friday, Zuckerberg changed his tune regarding fact-checks.
Zuckerberg had previously said that he didn’t feel that it was Facebook’s place to determine whether or not posts are true, nor did he feel that “censoring” politicians was a fair practice. However, Facebook will now begin fact-checking newsworthy posts by politicians, particularly when those posts spread misinformation about voting.
The Associated Press wrote that:
‘CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously refused to take action against Trump posts suggesting that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud, saying that people deserved to hear unfiltered statements from political leaders. Twitter, by contrast, slapped a “get the facts” label on them.’
The social media giant came under fire in 2016 when it was revealed that foreign actors had spread fake news about Democrats, Hillary Clinton, voting, Black Lives Matter, gun law reform, and a host of other people and issues, which most likely had a significant effect on the 2016 elections. After promising to do better in that regard, users began questioning why some misleading posts by American politicians had been allowed to remain.
‘Facebook is also banning false claims intended to discourage voting, such as stories about federal agents checking legal status at polling places. The company also said it is increasing its enforcement capacity to remove false claims about local polling conditions in the 72 hours before the U.S. election.’
Of course, it was consumer protest and the threat of losing advertising dollars that seems to have made the difference for both Facebook and Twitter. A host of companies not only threatened to pull their advertising from the site, they encouraged users to leave the social media platforms.
‘Shares of Facebook and Twitter dropped sharply after the the giant company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap said it will halt U.S. advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through at least the end of the year.
‘That European consumer-product maker, Unilever, said it took the move to protest the amount of hate speech online. Unilever said the polarized atmosphere in the United States ahead of November’s presidential election placed responsibility on brands to act.’
Facebook takes down ads run by President Trump’s re-election campaign for breaching its policies on hate https://t.co/cCdwEl15fJ
— CNN (@CNN) June 18, 2020
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