Facebook Oversight Board Overturns Company Removal Decisions

Facebook Oversight Board Overturns Company Removal Decisions

(LibertySociety.com) – In May 2020, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced the company was putting together an oversight board to help with moderation. Many who have long had issues with the way the company moderates content welcomed the news. The board’s first batch of decisions proved the necessity of the change.

Oversight Board Decisions

On January 28, the public got the results of the first set of decisions made by the board, and it doesn’t look good for Facebook’s current censorship practices. Of the five posts the board reviewed for allegedly violating the company’s terms of service, the committee ordered the restoration of four of them.

The cases dealt with nudity, COVID-19 misinformation, and hate speech. The four posts that the oversight board decided to restore are listed below:

  • A Brazilian user posted symptoms to raise awareness for breast cancer, and the content included a photo that showed a female’s nipples. Facebook took the post down but will now restore it.
  • Another post wrongly attributed a quote to Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels. The user was trying to condemn Goebbels. The post is set to be restored.
  • A user in Myanmar posted something in Burmese criticizing Muslims for not speaking out for the Uyghur Muslims the Chinese government is imprisoning in concentration camps. Facebook misinterpreted the post and took it down; now it’s going back up.
  • The final post to be restored was critical of the French government’s response to the coronavirus and claimed a cure exists. The board agreed the post contained misinformation but said it did not pose imminent harm.

Action by Facebook

As a result of the oversight board’s decisions, Facebook will clarify some of its rules about misinformation. The board also announced it was opening President Donald Trump’s case to the public for comments.

Although it’s a small step forward, any move in that direction is good for people who have been targeted by the platform for far too long.

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