Facebook: Removing fake news from political debate is not our job

Facebook has said it will not remove fake news in an Australian political debate. According to Facebook, it is ‘not our job’ to intervene in a political debate when it comes to fake news and its possible removal.

It concerns an incident that took place during the election campaign in Australia, in which one of the political parties wanted to introduce a ‘death tax’. Since this was considered fake news, Australian Labor Party politicians asked Facebook to remove content that talked about the death tax.

However, in a response, which has been seen by The Guardian Australia, Facebook says it does not want to get involved in the debate. In the Guardian article, Facebook CEO Simon Milner is quoted as saying: “It is not our role to remove content that one side of the political debate deems false”. Facebook’s fact-checkers would have considered the offending death tax content to be false.

Although Facebook has become stricter in moderating fake news and other forms of misleading content in recent years, the company seems to want to stay out of the political arena. Incidentally, the content marked as fake on Facebook has been made less visible. In response to Facebook’s decision, Australian politicians say Facebook needs to be more transparent about how it moderates content on its website.