Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has introduced several measures to crack down on what it deems to be “misinformation,” which include adding warning notices to posts that it flags for misinformation and directing users to content from “authoritative” mainstream media outlets.
Yet when these mainstream media outlets publish false information, they’re often given a pass and don’t have to abide by these same misinformation rules.
Now businessman Donald Trump Jr. is reporting that after he posted several screenshots comparing CNN’s headlines about the drug hydroxychloroquine, Facebook-owned Instagram removed the posts for “harmful false information” and warned him that his account may be deleted.
One of the screenshots that was removed compared an April 11 CNN headline stating “President Trump is wrong in so many ways about hydroxychloroquine studies. Here are the facts,” with a July 2 headline stating “Study finds hydroxychloroquine helped coronavirus patients survive better.”
“These are actual headlines from CNN, but because it doesn’t fit the narrative the social media masters are going to make sure that no one actually hears the truth,” Trump Jr. wrote in response to the posts being taken down.
Not only do Facebook and Instagram often apply differing standards when it comes to enforcing their misinformation rules against independent creators compared with the mainstream media but Facebook has previously carved out special exceptions for CNN in particular.
Last month, a Facebook insider who worked for Cognizant, a contractor that moderates Facebook posts, revealed that Facebook’s content policy team acknowledged that CNN anchor Don Lemon’s statement that “white men are the biggest terror threat in the US” would typically violate Facebook’s “hate speech” rules but it was given a pass because it was deemed to be a “newsworthy event.”