TechnologyTrump may continue to lie on Facebook

Trump may continue to lie on Facebook

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Donald Trump is said to have said more than 30,000 untruths during his tenure. Facebook has instructed its verifiers to stop checking their claims.


At the end of his term, the Washington Post counted Donald Trump’s lies. The surprising result: The US President made over 30,000 false or at least misleading claims during his four years in office, according to the study. That’s an average of 21 false statements per day.

But Trump’s lies could happily spread on Facebook: US broadcaster CNN reported in a note that Facebook’s fact-checkers were instructed not to question Trump’s statements in the future. Trump himself is currently blocked on Facebook – his account was blocked for two years after his supporters stormed the Capitol. However, the verification ban also applies to all statements of Trump posted on other pages of the platform. For example, the “Team Trump” page is regularly active and has 2.3 million followers.

Facebook rule: Politicians are not questioned

Background of note: Facebook has kept external confirmation groups around the world for years to curb the spread of fake news on the platform. In Germany, the Correctiv research network and the press agencies dpa and AFP take on this task. Posts that spread disinformation will be appropriately tagged to warn users, and Facebook will reduce their reach.

The problem: Statements by politicians are excluded from fact-checks – that’s what Facebook wants, in effect since 2018. “We don’t believe it’s our role to lead the political debate,” said Facebook executive Nick Clegg. According to Facebook’s guidelines, “Restricting the expression of political views also means that citizens will know less about the views of elected government officials and politicians will be less accountable for their expressions.”

Trump’s Facebook ban could end soon

Now that Trump is back on the political scene with his candidacy, Facebook once again reminded its confirmers of this rule. Because, according to Facebook’s definition, politicians are also “candidates for political office” as the guidelines state. However, the company did not want to comment on the memo at ZDF’s request today.

The group’s stance is controversial: Dutch news site nu.nl, which was also active as an information checker for Facebook until 2019, even ended the collaboration for this reason. Gert-Jaap Hoekma, editor-in-chief at the time, said, “What’s the point of fighting fake news if you can’t deal with politicians?” he had asked.

For now, Trump has a certain degree of immunity, at least on Facebook. For him, it could even be a personal comeback on Facebook in early 2023 if he wanted to: The two-year suspension of his account ended in January.

Source: ZDF

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