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No, Facebook did not change Joe Biden’s page category from ‘president-elect’ to ‘politician’

“Facebook REMOVES title of PRESIDENT ELECT from Joe Biden’s page and identifies Biden as POLITICIAN,” reads a screenshot of a tweet posted on Facebook in Nigeria on 22 November 2020.

The tweet is from the verified Twitter account of Chuck Callesto, who describes himself as a talent scout, booking manager, political strategist and former candidate for the US state of Florida’s third congressional district.

The screenshot was posted with the comment: “It seems Facebook also knows something that Biden supporters don't know. Make sure you drop by and say hello to the ‘President-Elect’ Joe Biden. God knows he needs it.”

The US presidential election ended on 3 November, in a race between incumbent Donald Trump, a Republican, and former vice-president Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

The media called the election for Biden on 7 November, and by 4 December Biden’s win had been certified by enough US states for him to be the official president-elect.

Trump has refused to concede the election, and is raising funds ostensibly to challenge its results in court – with little success.

But did Facebook remove the category “president-elect” from Biden’s page and replace it with, simply, “politician”? We checked.

Category on @joebiden unchanged

Biden’s verified Facebook page, @joebiden, was created in December 2007 and does indeed identify him as a “politician”.

But Facebook itself doesn’t control the categories used for a page. These are chosen by the page admins. The page’s transparency section shows that the Biden for President organisation is responsible for the page, which is managed by 84 people in the US.

Facebook sets a limited number of categories that may be applied to pages.

And the Wayback Machine, an archive of internet pages, has stored snapshots of the @joebiden page since February 2008.

At no point has the page’s category been “president-elect”, even after the 3 November 2020 US presidential election. It has always been “politician”, and Facebook does not interfere with categories chosen for pages.

The claim is false. – Kashifa Sithole


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