The tags will immediately begin to appear on pages belonging to media such as Russia Today and China’s Xinhua. Starting next week, users in the United States will begin to see the label appear in the individual publications of these points of sale, labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s security policy, told CNN Business in an interview on Thursday that the company is taking that approach to let users know more about the origin of their information.
“The concern for us is that the state media combine the agenda setting power of a media entity with the strategic backing of a state,” said Gleicher. “If you are reading the coverage of a protest, it is really important to know who is writing that coverage and what motivation they have. The goal of this is to ensure that the public sees and understands who is behind it.”
Later this summer, Facebook will also block state-controlled media outlets from running ads in the United States, “as a precaution” before the US election in November, Gleicher said.
Gleicher said there are no plans to roll out the advertising bans elsewhere, as state media is the only form of local news in some regions of the world.
Gleicher said Facebook consulted with 65 experts to create their own criteria for defining which media to label as state-controlled media. These criteria include where the media funds come from, editorial transparency, ownership structure and governance, internal accountability mechanisms and third party confirmation of independence. An entity can be state funded, but considered independent. Although an initial list of outlets, including CCTV from China and Xinhua, Russia Today and Sputnik will receive the label immediately, Gleicher cautioned that the list is “dynamic” and will change over time. Entities can also appeal its label.