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Facebook limits news outlets with clear links to political groups

Facebook announced on Tuesday that this would be the case start banning US news outlets with connections to political groups to use the news waiver within the platform’s political advertising authorization system.

Facebook’s new policy defines political outlets as being owned by a political person or entity, run by a political person, or an organization that shares proprietary information collected through its Facebook account with a political person or entity. These pages may still register as a news organization and advertise on Facebook, but will no longer be included in the Facebook News tab.

Facebook News launched in October 2019 and features major publishers such as The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed. These Facebook pages are also denied access to Facebook’s Messenger Business Platform or the WhatsApp Business API.

“As we enter election season in the US, we recognize that there are a growing number of news publications associated with various types of political entities, including political parties, PACs, politicians and other organizations that can primarily influence public policy or elections,” Facebook said in a press release on Tuesday.

Just last week, Google announced that it would prevent political advertisers masked as local news outlets from posting ads as early as September. Twitter earlier this year banned all political ads, including news outlets that receive money from political action committees and organizations.

During the 2016 election, politically backed fake “local news websites” surfaced on social media to promote partisan perspectives. These websites used social media ads on platforms such as Facebook to promote their content in feeds. Facebook’s new policy aims to keep these politically motivated ad news outlets on par with political entities.