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Zuckerberg says Facebook will permanently stop recommending political groups to users

Mark Zuckerberg
Posted at 9:43 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 11:43:18-05

During an earnings call on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media platform will permanently suspend the practice of recommending civic and political groups to users, according to NBC News, Politico and Reuters.

During the call, Zuckerberg said the change was being made in an attempt to tamp down political rhetoric.

"This is a continuation of work we've been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations," Zuckerberg said, according to NBC News.

In October, Facebook announced that it would temporarily stop recommending political groups to its users in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. In addition to making that change permanent, Zuckerberg also said the social network is taking steps to reduce the amount of political content in users' news feeds.

"Politics has kind of had a way of creeping into everything, and I think lot of ... the feedback that we see from our community is that people don't want that in their experience," Zuckerberg said, according to Politico.

The policy changes come as Facebook faces scrutiny from lawmakers for driving political polarization over the past decade.

"Perhaps no single entity is more responsible for the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories at scale or for inflaming anti-government grievance than the one that you started and that you oversee today as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer," Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to Zuckerberg, according to Politico.

Since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, Facebook has taken several steps to limit the spread of political conspiracy theories on the platform.

A week after the riot, Facebook banned content relating to "Stop the Steal" — the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was decided as a result of widespread election fraud.

Facebook has also suspended thousands of accounts that were spreading the notorious QAnon conspiracy theory.