The move aims to reduce the impacts of false information and propaganda on Facebook users.
Rabat – Facebook has begun labeling content produced by state-run media outlets as part of the social network’s efforts to “curb the spread of false information.”
As of Thursday, June 4, pages and posts from several news outlets from across the world now carry a label that describes them as “state-controlled media.”
“We’re providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote on the company’s blog.
Facebook will also ban state-controlled outlets from purchasing advertisements in the US in Summer 2020. The decision aims to “provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The move is designed to prevent incidents similar to the 2016 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach, when the Donald Trump presidential campaign team used the personal information of Facebook users to send micro-targeted messages and advertisements in order to influence their votes.
Facebook’s new labels, initially announced in October 2019, have so far targeted news outlets from across the world, including Russia Today, China’s Xinhua News, and Iran’s Press TV.
In Morocco, Facebook used the label “Morocco state-controlled media” on the Moroccan press agency’s (MAP) page, as well as 2M television channel and the channels operated by the National Radio and Broadcasting Company (SNRT).
According to Gleicher’s blog post, several factors determine whether a media outlet is “wholly or partially under the editorial control of a government.”
The factors include ownership, funding, transparency about sourcing, governance, and accountability processes such as correction policies and oversight boards.
Gleicher also explained that a publisher could receive government funding but still be deemed independent by Facebook. News outlets also have the option to appeal the label the social media giant puts on their content.