Facebook to ban news outlets backed by political groups: Report

San Francisco: As the US presidential election inches closer, Facebook is set to crack down on local news outlets backed or supported by political groups that push their agenda on the platform, Axios reported on Tuesday.

The social network is rolling out a new policy to prevent news publishers with “direct, meaningful ties” to political groups from claiming a news exemption to the political ads approval process by the company.

The new policy comes after Facebook discovered more than 1,200 instances where political groups used websites posing as local news outlets.

“Facebook is ensuring that Pages connected to those groups are held to the same standard as political entities when it comes to advertising on the platform,” the report mentioned.

Facing intense criticism from all quarters, Facebook last month planned to ban political ads on its platform like Twitter does as the US prepares for the presidential election on November 3.

According to a report in CNN Business citing sources, the potential ban on political ads to reduce the spread of disinformation has been under consideration since last fall.

According to Axios report, Facebook’s policy team will be responsible for making decisions around which news sites would be subject to the new policies.

Hundreds of companies have halted advertising on Facebook and Instagram against the unchecked spread of hateful and disinformation.

Concerned at advertisers’ pulling out from its platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network will put warning labels on all posts that break its rules but are deemed newsworthy.

A highly-anticipated audit of Facebook practices revealed last month that the company’s decision not to remove controversial posts by the US President Donald Trump was “deeply troubling”.

Twitter in October banned all kinds of political ads on its platform.