The post-election crackdown by Facebook on groups is extending beyond bans. The organization told the Washington Post that if they consistently break cultural norms, it is now placing political and social groups on probation. Administrators and moderators will have to approve each post for the next 60 days if Facebook makes the call for a given party. There will be no way to make an appeal.
The plan to “protect people during this extraordinary period” was adopted by the social network, Facebook representative Leonard Lam said in response to the vote.
It’s not clear exactly how many groups are facing this probation, but one for the city of Aberdeen, Washington is already subject to the new laws.
It’s not a startling change. In order to restrict the spread of misinformation about the US election, Facebook has taken several measures, including warnings about the state of the election and talk of restricted sharing.
After multiple members called for violence, the firm banned the “Stop the Steal” party, which rallied around unsupported allegations of voter fraud.
It isn’t clear whether or not this works. Whatever their accuracy, some groups can still accept messages, and it is not obvious that Facebook can catch any group that spreads false claims. This would also not alleviate conservative allegations of censorship, and there is a risk that organizations that actually did not pay careful attention to their content could be ensnared.
However, if the implementation is widespread and effective, organizations that actively advocate or tolerate misinformation could be discouraged.