Facebook oversight board overrules company on most cases in first test

Platform News: Facebook

Deciding its first-ever cases, Facebook’s supervision board has ruled that the societal networking firm was wrong to remove four pieces of articles the board reviewed, including articles Facebook took down to violating guidelines on hate speech and misinformation.

The initial rulings will be inspected to determine how independent the plank appears in the world’s largest social media platform and how it could rule later on, especially ahead of its high profile conclusion on whether Facebook was appropriate to suspend prior US President Trump.

Facebook blocked Trump’s accessibility to his Facebook and Instagram reports over concerns of additional violent unrest following the January the 6th storming of the US Capitol building by revolutionaries. The committee said that the Trump case could be opened for public opinion on Friday and that he hadn’t provided a statement to the board.

Facebook said it would abide by the board’s conclusions. The group, which was made by Facebook in response to criticism of the way it treats debatable content, also known as for the company to be clearer about its principles on what’s permitted on its platforms.

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Here is the Complete list of the board’s rulings:

  • A post from a user in Myanmar with photos of a dead child that included commentary on a perceived inconsistency between Muslims’ reactions to killings in France and to China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims
  • An alleged quote from Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that Facebook removed for violating its policy on “dangerous individuals and organizations
  • A post in a group claiming certain drugs could cure COVID-19, which criticized the French government’s response to the pandemic

Facebook had also said this removal was an error and restored the post.

DECISION UPHELD:

Facebook now has seven days to restore the pieces of content that the board ruled should not have been taken down. The board said it would shortly announce one more decision from its first batch, as well as the next round of cases.

The board also issued nine nonbinding policy recommendations – for example that Facebook should tell users the specific rule they have violated and better define their rules on issues like dangerous groups and health misinformation. Facebook doesn’t have to act on these, but it does have to publicly respond within 30 days.

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“We can realize there are a few policy problems at Facebook,” said board member Katherine Chen in an interview. “We need their coverage to be apparent – particularly those coverages involved with human rights and freedom of speech. They have to be exact, accessible, clearly defined,” she added.

In a blog post responding to the decisions, Facebook said it would publish updated COVID-19 misinformation policies. However, it said it would not change its approach to removing misinformation during the global pandemic.

Facebook has long faced criticism for high-profile content moderation issues.

The board said on Thursday that it had received 150,000 appeals since it started accepting cases in October. It will rule on a limited number of controversial decisions.

The board has 20 members including former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman.

Some Facebook critics and civil rights groups slammed the board’s rulings. A group dubbed The Real Facebook Oversight Board said the decisions showed “profound inconsistencies and troubling precedent for human rights”

Eric Naing, a spokesman for Muslim Advocates, also a member of the group, said that “rather than taking meaningful action to suppress hazardous hate speech on the stage, Facebook punted responsibility” and that the board’s ruling had reinstated “a treacherous, anti-Muslim place in Myanmar.”

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The team hears cases from users that have exhausted the organization’s appeals process on content removed from Facebook’s platforms, not satisfied that’s been left up. The board restricted remit has been the subject of criticism. Facebook itself may ask the board to examine a larger selection of content issues.

Facebook has pledged $130 million to finance the board for at least six years.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford. Editing by Kenneth Li, Cynthia Osterman and Steve Orlofsky.

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