MENLO PARK (CBS SF) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday that the social media giant will begin banning ads that scapegoat ethnic groups and minorities in addition to labeling potentially “harmful” posts from public figures following an advertising boycott campaign.

Zuckerberg announced the new policy cracking down on hate speech during a Facebook Live video and in a text post.

“So today we’re prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads,” Zuckerberg said in his post. “Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook would also be “expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”

The Friday announcement came amid a widening boycott by advertisers against Facebook who have accused the company of facilitating the spread of hate speech on the platform. Earlier Friday, household goods manufacturer Unilever said it would pull advertising from both Facebook and Twitter for the rest of the year. On Thursday, telecom giant Verizon joined the boycott.

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Unilever officials said the company’s decision was driven by concerns over hate speech and divisive content on the two social media platforms.

Facebook’s stock fell about 7 percent on Friday.

Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook would start adding warning labels to posts that are newsworthy but violate the platform’s policies.

“We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society — but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” Zuckerberg’s text post read.

He also said that Facebook would not give exemptions “to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.”

“Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down,” Zuckerberg said. “Similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies.”

The company has been criticized for not taking action on posts by President Donald Trump that other platforms, including Twitter, had recently started flagging for promoting violence or spreading misinformation.

Zuckerberg did not directly address either Unilever or Verizon joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott campaign organized by civil rights groups.

 

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