Facebook is again changing how it deals with hate speech, as the platform prepares for this year’s US Presidential Election.
This will include new protections for immigrants, banning posts that make false claims about ICE agents checking for immigration papers at polling places and labelling certain content (as opposed to removing it) it deems newsworthy.
“The 2020 elections were already shaping up to be heated — and that was before we all faced the additional complexities of voting during a pandemic and protests for racial justice across the country,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post.
“During this moment, Facebook will take extra precautions to help everyone stay safe, stay informed, and ultimately use their voice where it matters most — voting.”
Zuckerberg explained Facebook is introducing new tools to prevent voter suppression, while also protecting the public’s health.
“For example, if someone says on Election Day that a city has been identified as a Covid hotspot, is that voter suppression or simply sharing health information,” he said.
“Because of the difficulty of judging this at scale, we are adopting a policy of attaching a link to our Voting Information Center for posts that discuss voting, including from politicians.
“This isn’t a judgment of whether the posts themselves are accurate, but we want people to have access to authoritative information either way.”
Another problematic area for Facebook is its ads business.
Zuckerberg announced the company will now be banning a wider array of ads.
“Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit 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,” he said.
“We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
Zuckerberg also revealed anew policy that will focus on the newsworthiness of certain posts that might have otherwise been taken down.
“We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case,” he said.
“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.”
This will not be extended to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.