Oct 14, 2019

What politicians can and can't say on Facebook

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook may be giving political figures free rein to make false claims, but that doesn't mean they can say anything.

What they can't say: They can't misstate details about the voting process, such as when an election is taking place, the rules or how to vote.

  • They can't include profanity, as Trump's campaign found out.
  • They can't embed social media posts that have been flagged by a fact checker.
  • While not held to standards on factual matters, they have to follow Facebook's other community standards, such as those on hate speech.

What they can say:

  • They can make just about any factual claim they want, including repeating verbatim a false claim that has already been labeled elsewhere as false. That means they can misstate their own record or that of an opponent.

Between the lines: Here's where it gets even messier. Politicians can take an already debunked claim and repeat it in their own ads. A regular user, meanwhile, can't take a false claim from a politician's ad and repeat the same words without violating Facebook's rules. They are, though, free to share that politician's ad.

The bottom line: Politicians still have a lot of room to mislead voters, especially when they can target different messages to different demographic groups.

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren declares open season on Facebook's false ad policy

Go deeper

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.

Scoop: Inside the secret talks to overhaul the GOP platform

Jared Kushner. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

For the past six months, top Trump campaign officials, reporting to Jared Kushner, have been working on a radical overhaul of the Republican Party platform.

Driving the news: The Trump campaign's Bill Stepien has been leading the process, working with campaign colleagues and the Republican National Committee. As with all significant campaign matters, they've been reporting back to Kushner.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,370,893 — Total deaths: 343,617 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:20 p.m. ET: 1,635,192 — Total deaths: 97,495 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  4. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  5. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  6. World: Health officials report first death in Gaza StripCoronavirus testing is virtually nonexistent in some poor countries — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  7. 1 🏀 thing: NBA in early talks to restart season at Disney World.
  8. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy