Facebook will begin to remove misleading and seditious posts that could trigger violent attacks, as the social network said on Wednesday because of its reaction to sectarian conflict is criticized countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka
Facebook said that a new policy will cover misinformation shared on the platform to encourage or reinforce violence. The policy applies to written posts and manipulated images. Civil society groups and threat inspectors are among the partners that Facebook said they will help the company highlight arson and verify its potential impact. Facebook said that its local and international partners must verify that the information they share is false, and show that the material could contribute to the threat of violence. Once the threat is confirmed, Facebook said it will remove the content and reduce similar items.
The announcement came as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg attempted to clarify the recent remarks in which he said that people holding the Denying the Holocaust can do so in good faith, so an interview with Recode. Zuckerberg later said, "Personally, I find the denial of the Holocaust profoundly offensive, and I had no intention of defending the intent of people who denied it."
Zuckerberg said in an interview with Recode that Facebook sees a significant difference between false information and the kind of false information that can lead to physical harm While Facebook will not ban Infowars, a prominent right-wing extremist known for spreading conspiracy theories , the social network will dismantle items that may lead to violence, Zuckerberg said. He referred to the countries of Myanmar and Sri Lanka, where, according to the United Nations and government officials, social media could have contributed to deadly sectarian conflicts.
"Reducing the spread of misinformation, rather than eliminating it directly, is the right balance between freedom of expression and a secure and authentic community," said Facebook in a statement on Wednesday. The company added that changing the policy would not allow me to remove items that contribute to physical damage.
The new policy was first enacted last month in Sri Lanka, the company said. Facebook removed content that falsely claimed that Muslims poisoned food given to Buddhists. Similar posts had recently contributed to the violence in the country. Government officials there were so worried about the seditious places that Sri Lanka temporarily banned Facebook earlier this year to stem sectarian violence.
Facebook said the political change will be introduced in the coming months.