China on Friday accused Facebook of “ideological prejudice” after the social media network announced new rules targeting State media, including Chinese ones, which will now be clearly identified on its site.
The American platform on Thursday presented a number of measures to protect the 2020 presidential election in the United States from foreign interference.
Facebook will thus ban ads placed by State-controlled media on its U.S. platforms, and add disclaimers to content from State media, in addition to identifying such outlets as state media.
China has many media that respond directly to the directives of the ruling Communist party, such as the New China agency, CCTV television and the English-language China Daily.
Speaking on Friday at a regular press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said China hoped Facebook “would abandon its ideological prejudice.” Foreign media “should be given equal treatment” by Facebook as long as they comply with local laws, he said.
Following the presumed manipulation during the 2016 presidential in the United States, mostly orchestrated by Russia, social media reacted with an array of measures. These measures have been implemented gradually since 2018 to fight against fake accounts and disinformation, mostly spread by foreign entities.
“People should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government,” Nathaniel Gliecher, Facebook’s Cybersecurity chief, said.
Facebook’s announcement comes amid a net deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington in recent months.
Each of the two governments has expelled journalists from the other country and raised the tone on various subjects, from the COVID-19 epidemic to human rights and the issue of Hong Kong.