Facebook to start labeling the state media

Facebook will start labeling state-controlled media outlets.

The labels will immediately begin to appear on pages belonging to stores like Russia Today managed by the state and Chinese Xinhua. Starting next week, users in the United States will begin to see the label appear on the individual posts of these stores – labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s security officer, told CNN Business in an interview Thursday that the company is taking such an approach so that users know more where their information comes from.

“The concern for us is that state media combine the decision-making power of a media entity with the strategic support of a state,” said Gleicher. “If you are reading the coverage of a protest, it is very important to know who is writing that coverage and what motivation they have. The goal of this is to ensure that the public will see and understand who is behind it.”

An example image that represents how Facebook intends to identify state-supported multimedia content. Facebook users in the U.S. will soon begin to see state-controlled media labels on individual posts.
Facebook first announced plans for labels in December, but implementation comes when state-controlled media, particularly from countries like China and Russia, have been confuse the waters around the coronavirus pandemic and riots over the killing of George Floyd by the police. State media, especially in China, have it kidnapped about last week’s recent protests, asking why some American officials praise Hong Kong protesters while criticizing US protesters.
An example image that represents how Facebook intends to identify state-supported multimedia content. Facebook will begin distributing new labels and information on state-controlled media pages.

By the end of the summer, Facebook will also block state-controlled media from posting advertisements in the United States, “out of caution” ahead of the US election in November, said Gleicher.

Gleicher said there are no plans to implement advertising bans elsewhere, as state media are the only form of local news in some regions of the world.

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Gleicher said Facebook consulted 65 experts to create its own criteria for defining which stores to label as state-controlled media. These criteria include the provenance of the point of sale loans, editorial transparency, ownership structure and governance, internal liability mechanisms and third party confirmation of independence. An entity can be financed by the state, but considered independent. Although an initial list of stores including Chinese CCTV and Xinhua, Russia Today and Sputnik will immediately receive the label, Gleicher has warned that the list is “dynamic” and will change over time. Entities can also appeal to their label.

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YouTube started in 2018 labeling videos that come from state-funded media, leading to some protests from news outlets like Voice of America that are funded by the United States government but say they have a “legislative firewall” that would prohibit interference in relationships.
Twitter does not label state-controlled media, but in August has stopped accepting advertisements by state-controlled media entities.


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