US President Donald Trump has issued a temporary ban on the sale of goods and services from the social network, a move that could be a major victory for Facebook in the fight against fake news and disinformation.
The White House did not specify a specific ban, but the announcement follows Trump’s recent announcement that the government would “take the lead in identifying, investigating and prosecuting those responsible for spreading and spreading false information and misinformation.”
A report from the US Government Accountability Office, which was also released Wednesday, found that “disputed” content on Facebook had grown to a level that the US government could use to justify the new ban.
In the report, the GAO said that a number of companies were profiting from “disputable content” on the platform.
“Facebook’s advertising revenues have increased substantially in recent years, and the social networking giant’s ability to promote and distribute advertisements to consumers on Facebook and elsewhere is largely unaffected by the rise in content that is not verified or verified through Facebook’s own algorithms,” the GAOs report stated.
Facebook and other platforms that use advertising on the social media site have faced criticism for not doing enough to curb fake news on the site.
Facebook has said that it will remove “fake news” from its platform within 24 hours, but has not specified exactly what type of content that could include.
The president’s decision to order a temporary shutdown comes after a month-long investigation by the US intelligence community into whether Russia was behind the cyberattacks that targeted the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic Party organizations.
It also comes amid pressure on Facebook to improve its ad policies, particularly those that allow users to choose which advertising partners they would like to see promoted to their friends.
The GAO report found that, on average, publishers in the US pay $1.85 for every $1 of advertising on Facebook.
Facebook declined to comment on the GAOS findings.