Facebook to start tagging pages and posts from state-controlled media
Facebook will begin tagging the pages, posts and ads of state-controlled media, the company announced Thursday.
The tags will immediately begin appearing on pages belonging to outlets such as Russia Today and China’s Xinhua. Starting next week, users in the United States will begin to see the label appear in the individual publications of these points of sale, labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s security policy, told CNN Business in an interview on Thursday that the company is taking that approach to let users know more about the origin of their information.
“The concern for us is that the state media combine the agenda setting power of a media entity with the strategic backing of a state,” said Gleicher. “If you are reading the coverage of a protest, it is really important to know who is writing that coverage and what motivation they have. The goal of this is to ensure that the public sees and understands who is behind it.”
Facebook first announced plans for the labels in December, but the launch comes as state-controlled media outlets, particularly from countries like China and Russia, have been muddying the waters around the coronavirus pandemic and riots. for the murder of George Floyd on the hands. from the police. State media, especially in China, have taken advantage of the recent protests last week, questioning why some US officials praise Hong Kong protesters while criticizing US protesters.
Later this summer, Facebook will also block state-controlled media outlets from running ads in the United States, “as a precaution” before the US election in November, Gleicher said.
Gleicher said there are no plans to roll out the advertising bans elsewhere, as state media is the only form of local news in some regions of the world.
Gleicher said Facebook consulted with 65 experts to create their own criteria for defining which media to label as state-controlled media. These criteria include where the media funds come from, editorial transparency, ownership structure and governance, internal accountability mechanisms and third party confirmation of independence. An entity can be state funded, but considered independent. Although an initial list of outlets, including CCTV from China and Xinhua, Russia Today and Sputnik will receive the label immediately, Gleicher cautioned that the list is “dynamic” and will change over time. Entities can also appeal its label.
In 2018 YouTube started tagging videos that came from state-funded media, sparking some protests from media outlets like Voice of America that are funded by the US government. USA But they say they have a “legislative firewall” that would ban reporting interference.
Twitter does not label state-controlled media, but in August it stopped accepting advertising from state-controlled news media entities.
A Russia Today spokesperson condemned the move as “an excellent example of ‘fake news’.”
In an email to CNN Business, the spokesperson said Facebook is trying to tell “the rest of the world what it can and cannot say,” comparing it to “defining a technological dictatorship and censorship.”
Responding on Friday to the new Facebook policy, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, called on social media companies to “renounce ideological prejudice.” He added that all media organizations should be “treated equally” as long as they comply with the laws and regulations in their host country, he added.