USAGM applauds Facebook for taking the challenge of disinformation seriously and head on, and working thoughtfully with industry experts to establish criteria for assessing the independence and credibility of publicly funded news. Social media organizations such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become de facto gatekeepers of information. This decision shows that Facebook is seriously examining and addressing its issues of transparency and accountability to the public.
There is a fundamental difference between state-controlled media like Russia’s RT or China Global Television Network (CGTN), which operate without editorial independence, and public service media which, although publicly-funded, are independent from political interference.
USAGM’s five public service news networks fulfill the critical mission of providing accurate, objective, and professional news and information to audiences where press freedom is restricted or media are not fully developed. Our audiences live in some of the world’s most repressive countries and they depend on our trustworthy, fact-based reporting to evade censorship, disinformation, hate speech, and propaganda.
Facebook’s labeling should improve transparency, and enable Facebook users to make more informed decisions about where they get their news. We encourage other social media and digital companies to do the same.
We welcome the opportunity to work closely with all social media and digital companies to ensure they understand both our public service mission and our legally-protected independence from political institutions.