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Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules

NEW YORK: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign published an open letter to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg calling for the company to fact-check political ads in the two weeks ahead of the US presidential election in November.
The letter also demanded that Facebook promptly remove false, viral information and that there be clear rules “applied to everyone, including Donald Trump, that prohibit threatening behaviour and lies about how to participate in the election.”
Facebook said it would continue to protect political speech. “We live in a democracy, where the elected officials decide the rules around campaigns,” the company said.
The move adds to pressure on Facebook, which exempts politicians’ content from third-party fact-checking program, to change its rules on political ads and speech.
Zuckerberg last week promised a review of Facebook’s content policies after the company faced backlash over not taking action on a post by President Trump that was labelled by Twitter for violating that company’s rules on glorifying violence.
Last month, Twitter used a fact-checking label for the first time on a tweet by Trump about mail-in ballots, causing him to accuse the company of censorship.
In a blog post, Facebook said: “Two weeks ago the President of the United States issued an executive order directing federal agencies to prevent social media sites from engaging in activities like fact-checking political statements.
“This week, the Democratic candidate for President started a petition calling on us to do the exact opposite,” it said, referring to an executive order that aimed to scrap or weaken a law that shields internet companies from liability for users’ content.
Biden has previously clashed with Facebook when it refused to take down a Trump ad he said contained false claims about his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine.
The Biden campaign emailed supporters asking them to sign a petition for Facebook to crack down on misinformation in ads.
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