Facebook’s long-delayed content removal Oversight Board is now accepting appeals

Facebook’s Oversight Board to launch in October -- but not for election cases

(Reuters) – The Facebook Oversight Board, which can override the company’s decisions on whether content should have been removed, announced Thursday that it is now accepting cases for review.

The long-belated oversight board, set up by Facebook in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, is open to cases from both users who have exhausted the company’s appeal process and Facebook itself, less than two weeks prior to the US presidential election in November.

However, Facebook’s director of governance and global affairs Brent Harris said on a call to reporters the company would not file a case for an expedited review prior to the election.

The board, which has been criticized for its narrow scope of duties, also wants to hear cases about content left and removed on Facebook and Instagram as of early 2021, the board’s administrative director Thomas Hughes said.

Users worldwide will be able to file cases through the board’s website starting Thursday, though the board said it could take a few weeks for all users to have this option. Facebook, which can point cases to whether content should stay active or not displayed, as well as a wider range of topics like ads or Facebook groups, can also ask for policy recommendations.

The board, which can only examine a small fraction of the cases, said it would share details on the first cases it is considering in the coming weeks, as well as opening a public comment process.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Chris Reese)

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