Facebook on Tuesday announced new restrictions for news outlets that have clear political links, according to an official press release. Under these restrictions, these outlets will still be able to register as news organizations and purchase ads, but they will not be featured under the platform’s “News” tab.

The company defines these political connections as being owned by a political entity, led by a political entity or figure, or sharing information with political entities. These restricted outlets will also be barred from accessing the Facebook Messenger Business Platform and the WhatsApp Business API.

“As we head into election season in the U.S., we recognize that there are a growing number of news publications that are connected with different types of political entities, including political parties, PACs, politicians, and other organizations that can primarily engage in the influence of public policy or elections,” the release read. “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.”

Major tech platforms have faced intense pressure to take action against “fake news” purveyors using advertising mechanism for partisan political means. Last week, Google banned fake local news outlets from buying political ads. Last year, Twitter went a step beyond every other platform and banned all political advertising.

Facebook has notably been hesitant to go as far as other companies in tackling misinformation and voter manipulation. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that he does not want Facebook to be “the arbiters of truth” in terms of combating fake news.

“Identifying politically connected publishers is a new process for us, and we will learn and adapt as needed, while continuing to make ads on Facebook more transparent and protect the integrity of elections,” Facebook’s announcement concluded.

Facebook has struggled to contain the spread of misinformation Facebook has struggled to contain the spread of misinformation Photo: AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE