Facebook reminds fact-checkers to hit the brakes on checking Trump's lies: report
On Tuesday night, November 15, former President Donald Trump officially announced he plans to seek the 2024 presidential nomination — an announcement that not everyone on the right is welcoming. Right-wing pundit and former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, for example, has implored Trump not to run in 2024 and warned fellow Republicans that he would “likely lose” to a Democrat if he received the GOP nomination.
Trump’s 2024 campaign will keep a lot of fact-checkers busy, as the former president and many of his loyalists continue to push the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. But the fact-checking, according to CNN, won’t be coming from Facebook and its parent company Meta (which also owns Instagram). Ahead of Trump’s announcement, CNN’s Donie O'Sullivan reports, Meta sent out a company memo reminding employees that politicians are exempt from third-party fact-checkers.
O'Sullivan notes, “Facebook’s parent company Meta pays third-party fact-checking organizations to apply fact-check labels to misinformation across Facebook and Instagram. The carve-out is not exclusive to Trump and applies to all politicians, but given the rate fact-checkers find themselves dealing with claims made by the former president, a manager on Meta’s ‘news integrity partnership’ team e-mailed fact-checkers on Tuesday ahead of Trump’s announcement.”
In the November 15 memo, Meta reminded employees that “political speech is ineligible for fact-checking,” adding, “This includes the words a politician says as well as photo, video, or other content that is clearly labeled as created by the politician or their campaign.” Meta’s policy is not new; back in 2019, Meta’s Nick Clegg defended the policy and argued, “It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak.”
Meta’s 2022 memo, according to O’Sullivan, stated, “We define a ‘politician’ as candidates running for office, current office holders — and, by extension, many of their cabinet appointees — along with political parties and their leaders.”
After the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Trump was banned from some of the top social media platforms. Meta banned him from Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter deactivated his @realdonaldtrump account. But these bans aren’t necessarily permanent.
With Tesla CEO Elon Musk having acquired Twitter, many Trump supporters are hoping that Trump’s @realdonaldtrump account will be restored. And on January 7, 2023, Facebook will consider reactivating Trump’s account.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to operate his own social medium platform, Truth Social, promoting it as a MAGA alternative to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The Facebook/Instagram and Twitter bans haven’t kept Trump’s supporters from making Trump-related announcements on those platforms. The Trump-associated Facebook page Team Trump still has around 2.3 million followers.
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