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Since 2016, Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism has uncovered more than 1,200 politically backed Facebook pages disguised as news organizations that push political advertisements without disclaimers under Facebook's news exemption rule.
The social media giant on Tuesday said it is cracking down on these websites with direct ties to politicians, PACs, parties and political organizations so that they cannot exempt themselves from using disclaimers when posting political ads.
"While these kinds of Pages are allowed on Facebook, we believe it’s important to ensure that when it comes to advertising, these Pages are held to the same standard as political entities on Facebook," the site said in a Facebook Journalism Project blog post.
Facebook is also implementing new restrictions that will prevent such politically connected news pages from being "eligible for inclusion in Facebook News"—the website's personalized, algorithm-based news initiative—and having "access to news messaging on the Messenger Business Platform or the WhatsApp business API."
The move comes less than three months ahead of the 2020 presidential election and highlights more efforts from Facebook to stifle U.S. and foreign organizations attempting to use the platform to manipulate voters.