Election watch: Facebook will not remove offending posts

Election watch: Facebook will not remove offending posts

Clegg stated in his speech that Facebook will be cracking down on fake accounts will be making efforts to reduce the spread of fake news but that politicians' speeches and political debates will not be fact-checked and will be allowed on the site even if they break Facebook's rules.

Speaking at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, DC on Tuesday, the former United Kingdom deputy prime minister made clear that "it is not our role to intervene when politicians speak".

"Today, I announced that from now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard". "If someone makes a statement or shares a post which breaks our community standards, we will still allow it on our platform if we believe the public interest in seeing it outweighs the risk of harm", Clegg explains.

However, paid advertisements will still be expected to follow the company's community guidelines.

The policy clarification comes at a time when social media is facing mounting pressure to be more transparent in political dealings. "I've had both words and objects thrown at me, I've been on the receiving end of all manner of accusations and insults".

Clegg, who was previously Britain's deputy prime minister, also said Facebook did not submit original content from politicians to its independent fact-checkers. What is new is that now they can reach people with far greater speed and at a far greater scale. That's why we draw the line at any speech which can lead to real-world violence and harm.

He said it would "not be appropriate" for Facebook to venture into checking political claims, but it will still work to discredit false information from other sources.

"Censoring or stifling political discourse would be at odds with what we are about".

While the social network relies on third-party fact-checkers, including news organisations such as AFP, to help it discredit viral misinformation, it will stop short of wading into the veracity of political claims. "But imagine the reverse".

'This means that we will not send organic content or ads from politicians to our third-party fact-checking partners for review, ' he added. Broadly speaking they are two-fold: "where speech endangers people; and where we take money, which is why we have more stringent rules on advertising than we do for ordinary speech and rhetoric".

A Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters that newsworthy content from politicians on Facebook would not be labelled to show it had violated the rules.

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