After permanently banning former president Donald Trump from its platform, Facebook announced this week it will end its policy of giving politicians an exemption to content-moderation rules.
Under the old policy, politicians were exempt from content rules because of the “newsworthiness” of their posts. Trump, for example, was largely granted immunity from content-moderation during his presidency, according to Facebook.
The social-media company slowly started changing that policy, though, assigning “fact checks” to many of Trump’s posts and then banning him from the platform completely.
Starting Friday, every politician and world leader will be subject to the same punishment if they violate one of Facebook’s content policies, according to The Verge.
“When we assess content for newsworthiness, we will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, in a statement.
“Instead, we will simply apply our newsworthiness balancing test in the same way to all content, measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up.”
Several members of Facebook’s independent Oversight Board, which upheld Trump’s ban from the platform last month, have slammed the company for its “inconsistent” and vague content moderation rules.
“They are not transparent, they are unclear, they are internally inconsistent,” said board member Michael McConnell.
Another board member, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-–Schmidt, said Facebook doesn’t enforce its content rules fairly, citing its unprecedented ban of Trump as an example.
“Facebook invented their own sanctions as they looked into this particular user, Trump,” she explained. “Why is this user, Trump, any more special than anyone else? To be punished differently, in ways Facebook chooses to.”