Facebook has confirmed that politicians do not need to follow the company’s traditional posting guidelines.
Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg made the announcement at the Atlantic Festival in Washington DC on 24 September, and expanded on his comments in a blog post.
“Facebook has had a newsworthiness exemption since 2016. This means that 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,” said Clegg.
“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.”
“In evaluating the risk of harm, we will consider the severity of the harm. Content that has the potential to incite violence, for example, may pose a safety risk that outweighs the public interest value.”
Clegg added that Facebook doesn’t believe it to be appropriate for the company to “referee political debates” and prevent politicians’ speech from being subject to public debate and scrutiny.
“This is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression and respect for the democratic process, as well as the fact that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” said Clegg.
However, paid advertisements will still be expected to follow the company’s community guidelines.