Facebook vice president of global affairs and communications Sir Nick Clegg made a statement ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections in which he affirmed that the tech company will not be fact-checking statements that politicians post to the site, reported The Daily Mail.
The former British deputy prime minister stated that it would be “inappropriate” for Facebook to check into political claims, although the tech giant would still work to discredit false information from other sources. Currently, Facebook relies on third-party fact checkers to identify misinformed viral claims.
“We don’t believe… that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny. This means that we will not send organic content or ads from politicians to our third-party fact-checking partners for review.”
Facebook has partnerships with various media sites to help identify articles and posts that appear “dubious” in nature; however, politician discourse has typically been exempt from the fact-checking.
Clegg added that if a politician is found to post previously discredited information or false links and photos, Facebook will still move to demote the content, display related information from fact-checkers, and reject its inclusion in advertisements.
The vice president was brought on board a year ago to help clean up Facebook’s image following the Russian social media campaign scandal during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It was found that Russian operatives had reportedly been running a misinformation campaign on Facebook and other social media platforms in the months leading up to the elections.
Since the 2016 scandal, Facebook has been attempting to strike a balance between freedom of expression and regulation of inappropriate content. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has also made an attempt to increase transparency with political advertising. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Zuckerberg declared that Facebook is dedicated to preventing foreign election interference.
Recently, CNBC reported that there have been efforts from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to break up the tech giant due to its substantial power.
Facebook bought popular social media site Instagram in 2012, which is now worth around $100 billion and about one-fifth of the tech company’s total market cap. It also bought messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 and is currently working on buying CRTL-labs, a startup aimed at discovering ways for people to control computers using their minds.
In August, it was reported that the FTC was looking into Facebook’s acquisitions to determine if the tech company did make moves to stifle competition.