Facebook to label Russian, Chinese & Iranian state-controlled media pages

Facebook is to start labelling Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organisations, and later this summer will block any ads from such outlets that target U.S. users, the company announced on Thursday.

The social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, Reuters reports. The company will initially apply the label to about 200 pages under the control of 18 news organisations.

Facebook will not label any U.S.-based news organisations, as it determined that even U.S. government-run outlets have editorial independence, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an interview.

Facebook, which has acknowledged its failure to stop Russian use of its platforms to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has since stepped up its defences and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms.

The company announced plans last year to create a state media label, but is introducing the tool amid a deep crisis over its hands-off treatment of misleading and racially charged posts by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The new measure comes just six months ahead of the November U.S. presidential elections.

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