Daily US Times: Facebook announced on Thursday that the company will start labeling the posts, advertisements, and pages of state-controlled media outlets.
The labels will immediately start appearing on pages belonging to outlets such as state-controlled media outlets like Xinhua and Russia Today. From next week, users in the US will start to see the label appear on these outlets’ individual posts — labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.
Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher told in an interview with CNN on Thursday that the company is taking such an approach so users know more about where their information is coming from.
Gleicher said: “The concern for us is state media combines the agenda setting power of a media entity with the strategic backing of a state.”
“If you’re reading coverage of a protest, it’s really important you know who is writing that coverage and what motivation they have. The goal of this is to ensure the public will see and understand who is behind it.”
Facebook first announced these plans in December, but the rollout comes as media outlets that are state-controlled, particularly from countries such as Russia and China, have been muddying the waters around the coronavirus pandemic and unrest over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
State media outlets, especially in China, have seized upon the recent protests in the past week, questioning why some American officials praise Hong Kong protesters while criticizing US protesters.
Gleicher also said that from later this summer, Facebook will aslo block state-controlled media outlets from running advertisements in the United States, “out of an abundance of caution” ahead of the US election in November.
Gleicher said the social media giant has no plans to roll out the ad bans elsewhere as state media is the only form of local news in some regions in the world.
These criteria include where the outlet’s funding comes from, ownership structure and governance, editorial transparency, internal accountability mechanisms and third party confirmation of independence.
An entity can be state-funded but deemed independent. Though an initial list of outlets including Russia Today, Sputnik, and China’s CCTV and Xinhua will receive the label immediately.
Gleicher warned the list is “dynamic” and will change over time and media outlets can also appeal their label.
Facebook consulted with 65 experts to create its own criteria to define which outlets to label as state-controlled media, Gleicher said.