Facebook Oversight Board Gains New Powers Over Content

Facebook Oversight Board Gains New Powers Over Content

Social media ‘like’ symbol on keyboard


Facebook users can now ask the company’s oversight board to check whether other users’ content should have stayed on the site.

The board was established two years ago after allegations of Russian electoral influence and expanded its remit over the past year.

Since then, if a user disagrees with a re-examined decision to remove content from Facebook or Instagram, they can file a final appeal with the Oversight Board. However, the same right of appeal did not exist if the company had made the decision to leave content open.

“Today’s announcement is an extension of the board’s original scope,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, in a blog post.

“As originally envisaged in the Oversight Board’s bylaws, the board can now review Facebook’s decision to keep content on the platform. Content eligible for appointment to the board will continue to include posts / status, photos, videos , Comments and approvals. ”

The reason for the delay, Rosen said, was due to a number of technical challenges – and in particular how to deal with privacy issues.

“For example, we had to think about the best way to capture content at the time of the appeal in case the original poster later edited the content before it was reviewed by the board,” he says.

“When the board is picking a case, when should we stop allowing people to appeal that content – once picked, once a decision is made or after it’s made? How can we allow the board to handle a larger volume of cases to sort in. ” an efficient way? ”

Under the new system, if the board receives multiple reports on the same content, each will be dealt with individually. So if one calling fails, another can succeed for a variety of reasons. Once the board has accepted a case, all users who reported it will be kept informed – as will the original poster, of course.

The board only started making decisions this year. So far, it has directed Facebook to re-record a picture of a nipple posted as part of a cancer awareness campaign, as well as a post incorrectly attributed to Joseph Goebbels. Also included were photos of a Syrian child who drowned trying to get to Europe, a “threatening” post in a Muslim group and claims that a cocktail of drugs could cure Covid.

In the meantime, the board of directors confirmed a ban on what constitutes hate speech against Azerbaijanis.

“The Oversight Board has already made a number of decisions and recommendations that have not only determined whether content will be unavailable or restored to Facebook, but have already had a broader and significant impact on our content and enforcement policies and practices,” says Rosen.

“We will continue to work on adding additional types of content to the scope of the board and providing updates in the future.”