Facebook will permanently stop recommending political groups to users

Facebook says it will permanently stop recommending political groups to users in an extension of a temporary ban brought in before the election

  • Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement in a conference call on Wednesday
  • Facebook introduced a temporary halt to political recommendations in October  
  • He said they were considering reducing the amount of political content in feeds 
  • Zuckerberg spoke a day after Senator Ed Markey accused the platform of failing
  • Markey, Democrat for Massachusetts, said Facebook was still promoting groups
  • Zuckerberg said Facebook was ‘continuing to fine-tune how this works’ 

Facebook will no longer recommend political and civic groups to users of the platform, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday.

The social media company said in October that it was temporarily halting recommendations of political groups for U.S. users in the run-up to the presidential election. 

On Wednesday Facebook said it would be making this permanent and would expand the policy globally.

Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that a temporary block on political groups was being made permanent

The move to stop recommendations was introduced initially in October, and is now being extended

The move came a day after Democratic Senator Ed Markey wrote to Zuckerberg asking for an explanation of reports, including by news site The Markup, that Facebook had failed to stop recommending political groups on its platform after this move.

He called Facebook’s groups ‘breeding groups for hate’ and noted they had been venues of planning for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

‘Facebook doesn’t simply allow dangerous group pages that organize and coordinate violent and anti-democratic efforts to exist on its platform, it RECOMMENDS them,’ he tweeted Tuesday. 

‘It appears Facebook has failed to keep its commitment to stop recommending political groups.’ 

Senator Ed Markey on Tuesday accused Facebook of failing in their promise to stop recommending political groups

Markey said that, instead of blocking political groups, Facebook had actually promoted them

Speaking on a conference call with analysts about Facebook’s earnings, Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the company was ‘continuing to fine-tune how this works.’

Facebook groups are communities that form around shared interests. Public groups can be seen, searched and joined by anyone on Facebook.

Several watchdog and advocacy groups have pushed for Facebook to limit algorithmic group recommendations. 

They have argued that some Facebook Groups have been used as spaces to spread misinformation and organize extremist activity.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook was considering steps to reduce the amount of political content in users’ news feeds.

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