Facebook, following in Twitter’s footsteps, has announced that it will let politicians bypass its community standard rules. The company’s Vice President Nick Clegg, speaking at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C. announced that Facebook has deemed political speech as ‘Newsworthy’, and as a general rule is greenlighting guideline-violation speech from politicians.
Three years ago, Facebook backtracked after removing “Naplam Girl” iconic Vietnam war photos. As a result, the social media giant implemented an exemption for content that was newsworthy. According to Clegg, the company is just taking a step further by exempting politicians from its speech violation policy.
At the festival, Nick Clegg said:
It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak, I know some people will say we should go further, that we are wrong to allow politicians to use our platform to say nasty things or make false claims. But imagine the reverse: Would it be acceptable to society at large to have a private company in effect become a self-appointed referee for everything that politicians say? I don’t believe it would be.
Individuals who are either candidates or officials at the executive, national and regional levels are considered politicians by Facebook, and only these individuals will be exempted from the rules. However, this exemption does not apply to the Ad publishing policy. Politicians who publish ads on the platform will be held to the same standards as other users.