Labels will soon begin to appear on pages owned by outlets such as Russia Today, run by the government and China’s Xinhua. Starting next week, users in the United States will start seeing labels appear in each of these outlet posts – labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s security policy, told CNN Business in an interview on Thursday that the company took such an approach so users know more about where their information comes from.
“Our concern is that state media combine the power of organizing the agenda of media entities with the strategic support of the state,” Gleicher said. “If you read the coverage of the protest, it is very important that you know who wrote the coverage and what motivation they have. The aim is to make sure the public will see and understand who is behind it.”
Later this summer, Facebook will also block state-controlled media outlets from running advertisements in the United States, “because of a lot of caution” ahead of the US elections in November, Gleicher said.
Gleicher said there were no plans to launch advertising bans elsewhere because state media were the only form of local news in several regions of the world.
Gleicher said Facebook consulted 65 experts to create their own criteria to determine which outlets would be labeled as state-controlled media. These criteria include where funding sources come from, editorial transparency, ownership and governance structures, internal accountability mechanisms and third party independence confirmations. An entity can be state funded, but is considered independent. Although the initial list of outlets including CCTV China and Xinhua, Russia Today and Sputnik will soon receive the label, Gleicher warned the list was “dynamic” and would change over time. Entities can also appeal their labels.