Facebook to label all rule-breaking posts - even Trump’s

FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia.  Facebook has removed hundreds more social media accounts that it says belonged to members of two different white supremacy groups. The company announced the takedowns on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, saying it had removed more than 900 accounts from Facebook and Instagram affiliated with the Proud Boys and American Guard, two hate groups already banned from their platforms.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook has removed hundreds more social media accounts that it says belonged to members of two different white supremacy groups. The company announced the takedowns on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, saying it had removed more than 900 accounts from Facebook and Instagram affiliated with the Proud Boys and American Guard, two hate groups already banned from their platforms. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook said Friday that it will flag all "newsworthy" posts from politicians that break its rules, including those from President Donald Trump.

Separately, Facebook's stock dropped more than 8%, erasing roughly $50 billion from its market valuation, after the European company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Dove announced it would boycott Facebook ads through the end of the year over the amount of hate speech and divisive rhetoric on its platform. Later in the day, Coca-Cola also announced it joined the boycott for at least 30 days.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously refused to take action against Trump posts suggesting that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud, saying that people deserved to hear unfiltered statements from political leaders. Twitter, by contrast, slapped a “get the facts” label on them.

Until Friday, Trump's posts with identical wording to those labeled on Twitter remained untouched on Facebook, sparking criticism from Trump's opponents as well as current and former Facebook employees. Now, Facebook is all but certain to face off with the president the next time he posts something the company deems to be violating its rules.

“The policies we’re implementing today are designed to address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they’re showing up across our community,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page announcing the changes.

Zuckerberg said the social network is taking additional steps to counter election-related misinformation. In particular, the social network will begin adding new labels to all posts about voting that will direct users to authoritative information from state and local election officials.

Facebook is also banning false claims intended to discourage voting, such as stories about federal agents checking legal status at polling places. The company also said it is increasing its enforcement capacity to remove false claims about local polling conditions in the 72 hours before the U.S. election.

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media, said the changes are a “reminder of how powerful Facebook may be in terms of spreading disinformation during the upcoming election.”