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Facebook will start labeling posts and pages by state-controlled media outlets

Ankita Chakravarti     June 5, 2020

Social media giant Facebook on Friday announced that it will start labeling posts by media outlets that are under the partial or editorial control of the government. The company also said that they would block ads from the government-influenced media outlets.

Facebook said that labels will appear on the Ad Library Page view, on Pages, and in the Page Transparency section. The users in the US will also get to see the labels in their News Feeds by next week.

"Several months ago, we announced our plan to label media outlets that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government, and today we're starting to apply labels to those state-controlled media outlets. 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. And to ensure we're equally transparent when it comes to paid content from these publishers, we will begin labeling ads from these publishers later this year," Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy said in a blog post.

The social media giant has stated that the motive behind labeling posts that are controlled by the government is to inform users about who runs the media outlets. Facebook said that it will begin blocking ads from the state-controlled media outlets in the US "to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US."

Facebook claimed that it has consulted more than 65 experts around the world specializing in media to know how a media outlet becomes "state-controlled".

"The input we received from these organizations was crucial to understanding the different ways and degrees to which governments exert editorial control over media entities. We know that governments continue to use funding mechanisms to control media, but this alone doesn't tell the full story. That's why our definition of state-controlled media extends beyond just assessing financial control or ownership and includes an assessment of editorial control exerted by a government," Gleicher said in the blog.

Facebook was recently in news for its handling of Donald Trump's latest posts. CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a backlash from its own employees for not taking any action against Trump's activities on the social media platform.

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