CNN is reporting that it obtained a memo sent to fact-checkers working for Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta, reiterating the company’s long-standing policy to not fact-check politicians.
The memo cites concerns fact-checkers had expressed about Trump’s potential candidacy, and clarifies that “the words a politician says as well as photo, video, or other content that is clearly labeled as created by the politician or their campaign,” is exempt from Meta’s fact-checking policies.
Meta Platforms has been accused of spreading misinformation since at least 2016, and was found to have enabled the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19, climate change, and false claims of voter and election fraud during the 2020 election cycle – one of the 14 criteria used to grade the company’s performance on upholding democracy.
“Meta has made statements like, ‘it’s important that we help protect the integrity of our elections,’ but we know that the spread of misinformation can threaten election integrity. By exempting politicians from their fact-checking policies, Meta is undermining the very thing they say they want to protect,” says Derek Martin, director of research at Accountable.US.
While former President Trump is still banned from Facebook as a result of his role in the events of January 6, 2021, it should be noted that “a page run by Trump’s political group” is still active, and has 2.3 million followers. According to the Washington Post, Trump made more than 30,000 false or misleading claims in the four years he was President, none of which appear to be eligible for fact-checking under Meta’s fact-checking policy.
Other Reasons Meta Platforms Got an F on the American Democracy Scorecard
In addition to enabling the spread of misinformation that undermines democracy, Meta Platforms contributed over $95,000 during the 2022 election cycle to federal legislators who voted against voting rights legislation, and nearly $90,000 to federal legislators who opposed the formation of the January 6 committee. Key company staff at the organization have also personally donated to anti-democracy federal legislators.