Facebook Begins Labelling Trump Posts, But Doesn’t Fact-Check Them

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Social networking giant begins placing labels on political posts by US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden

Facebook has begun to label political posts by US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

It came when President Trump posted an unfounded claim to Facebook (FB) on Tuesday that postal voting could lead to a “corrupt election.” Facebook responded by placing a warning label on it.

However it should be noted that Facebook is not fact-checking political posts. Rather it is directing users to a government website to learn more about how to vote.

Political posts

The move has been expected, after CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month said the network would begin to label posts about the November election.

And it is not just posts from President Trump that has received this treatment.

Facebook has also placed the same label beneath a mix of posts from both President Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

One of Biden’s posts that saw him call on US citizens to “vote Donald Trump out this November”, even though it does not make any factual assertions about voting, CNN reported.

The labeling began rolling out over the last few days, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told the media outlet.

Intense pressure

The social network has been under intense pressure of late about its hands off approach, compared to Twitter.

Twitter became engaged in a spat with US President Donald Trump in May, when it began placing fact-checking labels on a number of his controversial tweets for the first time.

In response to the Twitter action, the US President first threatened to close down social networking firms, but he then followed up on his threat and signed an executive order against them to remove certain online protections.

Facebook and politics

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is treading a fine line here.

In June Facebook took down posts and adverts run by the re-election campaign of President Trump.

But Facebook in January had refused to ban political adverts on its platform that are either untruthful or spread lies.

To be fair Facebook has consistently refused to ban political adverts, and Zuckerberg has previously said the platform would rather clamp down on false information about voting requirements.

This is in stark contrast to Twitter for example, which in November 2019 announced that it was banning all political advertising worldwide.

Facebook protests

And Facebook’s hands off stance is not going down well.

In June nearly three dozen former Facebook employees posted an open letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in protest at his decision not to act on controversial posts by President Trump.

Days before that Zuckerberg and his management team had to defend their decision at a tense all-hands meeting after staff (including some senior managers) staged a virtual walk-out, and took to social media to rebuke their employer over the matter.

Facebook for its part has since 2018 labelled political advertising in response to criticism over its role about Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election.

Facebook also recently said it would label posts by Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organisations on its platforms.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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