Facebook restricts news outlets with clear ties to political groups

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On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it would start banning US news publishers with connections to political groups from using its news exemption within the platform’s political ads authorization system.

Facebook’s new policy defines political outlets as ones owned by a political person or entity, led by a political person, or as an organization that shares proprietary information gathered from its Facebook account with a political person or entity. These pages will still be allowed to register as a news organizations and advertise on Facebook, but they will no longer be included in Facebook’s News tab.

Facebook News launched in October 2019 and features large publishers like The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed. These Facebook pages also won’t be allowed access to Facebook’s Messenger Business Platform or the WhatsApp business API.

“There are a growing number of news publications that are connected with different types of political entities”

“As we head into election season in the U.S., we recognize that there are a growing number of news publications that are connected with different types of political entities, including political parties, PACs, politicians, and other organizations that can primarily engage in the influence of public policy or elections,” Facebook said in a press release Tuesday.

Just last week, Google announced that it would bar political advertisers masked as local news outlets from placing ads as soon as September. Twitter banned all political advertising earlier this year, which included news outlets that receive funding from political action committees and organizations.

Throughout the 2016 election, politically backed fake “local news websites” cropped up across social media to promote partisan perspectives. These websites used social media advertising on platforms like Facebook to promote their content into feeds. Facebook’s new policy aims to hold these politically motivated news outlets to the same standard as political entities in advertising.

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