Opinion

Why Facebook Ending its Special Exemptions for Politicians is What We Needed

READING TIME ~ 2 MINUTES

For years now, Facebook has turned a blind eye to the words of prominent politicians on its platform. They have justified these unfair actions by claiming that “the speech of political leaders is inherently newsworthy and in the public interest even if it is offensive, bullying or otherwise controversial.” They even stated that they will allow politicians to run ads on Facebook, even if they contain misinformation. Facebook communications head Nick Clegg explained the policy in a speech back in 2019,  stating, “If someone makes a statement or shares a post which breaks our community standards, we will still allow it on our platform if we believe the public interest in seeing it outweighs the risk of harm.” Atrocious, isn’t it? 

So What is Facebook Doing Now?

Last Tuesday, Facebook finally used some common sense and revoked this policy. This means that Facebook “will no longer treat content that is posted by politicians as inherently of public interest or newsworthy. This means such posts will be moderated like that of any other user”. This policy was seen being enforced when Former President Trump’s account got banned indefinitely. This policy is quite significant since it is an extension of decisions made by Twitter to check the validity and truthfulness of the information. 

What does this mean for the future?

Overall, fewer conflicts. If there is a more equal forcing of rules, there is bound to be less issues between people. Also with less false information on the internet, it becomes a safer environment. It is just disappointing that it took this long for it to happen, but it is a good first step. No one deserves more special rights, especially when it is causing problems. Hopefully, other social media giants follow a similar path. 

TL;DR

  • Facebook has kept politicians in a special place and has allowed them to break policies by claiming that “the speech of political leaders is inherently newsworthy and in the public interest even if it is offensive, bullying or otherwise controversial.”
  • This mindset was recently changed, thus allowing equal enforcement of rules and to prevent the spread of misinformation.
  • Facebook made the right choice and set a good course and precedent for the future since it will result in less conflicts and debates about what information is ‘fake.’
  • Other social media networks must take this important step to properly filter the information that political figures are releasing to the public.

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