Facebook Is Temporarily Restricting The Reach Of Political Articles and Related Content For A Select Number Of Users

Facebook will temporarily be downplaying and rolling back on the reach of political content to select users across the platform.

The announcement, for such action came rather recently, following the social media platform's recent decision to permanently stop suggesting political and civil groups to its community. Unlike prior action, however, this new decision seems to be firmly temporary in nature, and is just as selective in execution.

As of yet, Facebook has only announced the nations of Canada, Indonesia, and Brazil as part of the rolling back on news. While other nations, namely the USA, are expected to be next in line, such action might take some time. Even in the aforementioned three countries, only a select minute percentage of users will be affected for the duration of this experiment. Furthermore, not all politically oriented news will receive such censorship. Facebook has clarified that, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent distribution of concurrent vaccines, any and all articles that either address or are of a healthcare origin will be spared such axing. A wise decision, considering how quickly updates change the playing field in this case.

Then again, all of this fussing about and we've yet to address a rather looming elephant in the room. Why is Facebook going through all of this trouble with groups and articles, temporary or otherwise? What does the company hope to achieve?

Well, while the company's aspirations towards the noble goal of regulating online discourse in such a politically tumultuous time is certainly a pretty picture to paint, the truth may be far more mundane and sobering. Fact of the matter is that the Capitol riots have drawn a constant stream of ire from both the social network's own community and outside detractors as well.

Multiple news outlets heavily reported on the platform's unwitting hand in serving as a medium for staging the attack, a role that could have only be served if Facebook's moderating staff was rather lax with their station. This may have proven to be the final straw in a list of controversies surrounding the company, what with the WhatsApp policy debacle, the FTC lawsuit, and the earlier congressional hearings.

Whether or not Facebook actually wishes to turn over a new leaf and be more vigilant moving on (the company did deny any participation in the riots, pushing the blame onto third party apps), it's very clear that Mark Zuckerberg would greatly benefit from tiptoeing around social issues a bit more gracefully.


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