Facebook decision 'blurs line' on propaganda, NMA says

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America's News Media Alliance has taken Facebook to task over a plan which will group quality news with political advocacy.

In a letter to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, NMA president and chief executive David Chavern says the plan to group quality publishers alongside political advocacy - which its ad archive will do - is "a fundamental mischaracterisation of journalism".

"Newsgathering and reporting about politics is not the same thing as advocacy or politics," he says. "By lumping journalism and issue advocacy together, Facebook is dangerously blurring the line between real reporting and propaganda, and threatening to undermine journalism's ability to play its critical role in society as the fourth estate."

The group calls on Facebook to reconsider its treatment of news in its plan and instead require disclosure from all advertisers on all advertising; exempt news in the ad archiving and labeling process for political content; or label and archive news independently from politics and advocacy.

"We understand and support Facebook's desire to create more transparency for the end user and would welcome the opportunity to participate in any process to improve the current standards," it says.

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