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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook will begin labelling posts that break its rules but are deemed "newsworthy" — for instance, because they come from public figures — CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday.

Why it matters: This is Facebook's attempt to thread the needle between allowing inflammatory posts from politicians and tamping down on problematic content.

Context: The company previously let figures like President Trump freely post material that appeared to violate policies around issues like targeted harassment and hate speech.

  • The new policy echoes Twitter's approach to such content, which has drawn ire from Trump and other conservatives.

Details: During a livestream of a company town hall meeting Friday, Zuckerberg compared the new label to how news outlets report on what a politician says.

  • Users will still be able to share the content, but Facebook will add a prompt telling people that it may violate company's policies.
  • Zuckerberg emphasized that there is no newsworthy exemption to posts that violate Facebooks' policies on content that may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote.
  • "We're going to take that content down no matter who says it," Zuckerberg said.

What they're saying: "A handful of times a year, we make a decision to leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies because we consider that the public interest value outweighs the risk of that content," Zuckerberg said. "And you know often here, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest."

Other changes Zuckerberg announced include attaching a link to Facebook's Voting Information Center on posts that discuss voting, and prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads.

  • That includes banning claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the safety or health of others.
  • The policy change is also aimed at better protecting immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads that would denigrate them.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 2, 2020 - Technology

Get ready for a flood of deepfakes, experts warn

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If social media platforms don't start dealing much more aggressively with altered audio and video, they risk seeing their platforms devolve into a sea of faked content, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: The platforms are already struggling to deal with manipulated media, and the technology to create "deepfakes," which are fabricated media generated by machine-learning-based software, is improving rapidly.

36 mins ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

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