In what would be a striking reversal, Facebook Inc. is strongly considering putting an end to a controversial policy that excluded politicians from the same content moderation rules that apply to everyone else, according to a new report.
The policy change essentially expands a decision by the Oversight Board — an independent group considered the Supreme Court of Facebook
that suspended former President Donald Trump last year — to apply the same fact-checking and content-moderation rules to politicians that it does to all users. The Verge first reported the news.
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.
For years, the social-media giant has endured withering criticism for giving politicians, in particular Trump, more lenient treatment despite comments, links, videos, and images that clearly crossed the line. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg went so far as to argue the company should not police the comments of elected officials.
But things changed significantly in January 2020 after a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol by followers of Trump that was stoked by comments the former president made on Facebook and Twitter Inc.
(Trump was also booted from Twitter last year.)
Facebook indefinitely blocked Trump’s ability to post and referred its decision to the Oversight Board.
In May, the board called on Facebook to “address widespread confusion about how decisions relating to influential users are made.” The board gave Facebook 30 days to respond to its recommendations, and six months to complete its review of Trump’s account.