But Facebook doesn’t plan to end the newsworthiness exception entirely. In the cases where an exception is made, the company will now disclose it publicly, the person said — after years of such decisions being closely held. And it will also become more transparent about its strikes system for people who violate its rules.
The moves, first reported by the Verge, are part of a set of responses to the Facebook Oversight Board’s recommendations. The largely independent Facebook-funded body recently ruled on whether the social network should reinstate former president Donald Trump’s account on its service. The company’s responses are the first major test of how a non-government watchdog might act as a check on the powerful social network, which is used by 3.45 billion people globally on a monthly basis.
Facebook spokesman Jeff Gelman declined to comment.
Trump has been suspended from the platform since Jan. 6, when the company determined that his posts incited violence during the Capitol insurrection. But soon after, Facebook turned its decision — which it said would be enforced indefinitely — over to the Oversight Board to decide whether the company made the right call.
After four months of deliberations, the Oversight Board unexpectedly kicked the Trump decision back to the social network, giving it six months to decide whether to ban Trump permanently or reinstate him. It also recommended that the company publish a report about its role in the Jan. 6 riot and make changes to its newsworthiness exception. The company has committed to responding to the board’s recommendations within 30 days.
The Oversight Board ruled that Facebook was right to suspend Trump at the moment. But it said that Facebook had not provided a better rationale for the indefinite suspension, noting that indefinite suspensions are not part of Facebook’s policies. That rationale needed to be clear and transparent, the board said.
Publicly, Facebook executives have deflected blame for the events at the Capitol onto other companies. The Washington Post and others have reported that rioters used Facebook to help organize.