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Facebook will label newsworthy posts that break rules as ad boycott widens

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed its new policy would have meant attaching a link on voting information to U.S. President Donald Trump’s post last month about mail-in ballots. Rival Twitter (TWTR.N) had affixed a fact-checking label to that post.

Facebook has drawn heat from employees and lawmakers in recent weeks over its decisions not to act on inflammatory posts by the president.

“There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

Zuckerberg also said Facebook would ban ads that claim people from groups based on race, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status are a threat to physical safety or health.

The policy changes come during a growing ad boycott campaign, called “Stop Hate for Profit,” that was started by several U.S. civil rights groups after the death of George Floyd, to pressure the company to act on hate speech and misinformation.

Zuckerberg’s address fell short, said Rashad Robinson, president of civil rights group Color Of Change, which is one of the groups behind the boycott campaign.

“What we’ve seen in today’s address from Mark Zuckerberg is a failure to wrestle with the harms FB has caused on our democracy & civil rights,” Robinson tweeted. “If this is the response he’s giving to major advertisers withdrawing millions of dollars from the company, we can’t trust his leadership.”

Shares of Facebook closed down more than 8% and Twitter ended 7% lower on Friday after Unilever PLC (ULVR.L) said it would stop its U.S. ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the rest of the year, citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.”

More than 90 advertisers including Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co Ltd’s (7267.T) U.S. subsidiary, Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and The North Face, a unit of VF Corp (VFC.N), have joined the campaign, according to a list by ad activism group Sleeping Giants.

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