As the 2020 United States presidential election approaches, Facebook has imposed new restrictions on politically-connected news outlets. Facebook now requires these publications to go through a disclaimer process before they post politically-driven ads.
Facebook Moves Towards Political Neutrality
Facebook is taking steps to make the platform more politically neutral. It already lets you turn off all political ads
, and it’s now putting more restrictions on political news outlets.
In the past, some political outlets were able to bypass Facebook’s ad authorization process by claiming the news exemption. This exemption allowed certain publications to post ads without having to provide a disclaimer. By skirting around the disclaimer process, political publications could unfairly influence elections.
The social media giant is finally closing this loophole for political outlets. Any news source that Facebook considers “political” will have to take extra steps to publish ads.
Facebook’s Business Help Center defines a political publication as “an organization, company, or other group whose primary purpose is to influence politics, public policy, and/or elections.”
This includes any outlets that have ties to political parties, politicians, PACs, and other political organizations. Not only do all political publications now have to go through the ad authorization process, but their ads need to have a “Paid for by” disclaimer attached.
On the Facebook Journalism Project blog, Facebook explains the goal of its new policy:
Identifying politically connected publishers is a new process for us, and we will learn and adapt as needed, while continuing to make ads on Facebook more transparent and protect the integrity of elections.
And while political news organizations can still register as a news Page, they’re now barred from appearing on the Facebook News feed. Facebook’s new rules also prevent political publications from using news messaging on the WhatsApp Business API and the Messenger Business Platform.
How Facebook Still Poses a Threat to Elections
Despite the fact that Facebook has put new restrictions on political outlets, the social network can still influence politics. To find out more, read our article explaining how your data on Facebook is used to win elections
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