The Oversight Board for Facebook, today, announced that it’s expanding its purview over content moderation on Facebook and Instagram. While the Board was so far taking requests about posts that Facebook removes from its platforms, users will also be able to appeal for posts that Facebook’s moderation teams do not remove after users have complained about them.
The Oversight Board was announced early last year and became operational from October 2020. It is currently looking into Facebook’s decision to ban former US President Donald Trump from its platforms, a decision on which is expected soon. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had said that the Board is meant to be a “Supreme Court” for Facebook and Instagram, and the company has pledged to abide by the Board’s decision on subjects of moderation.
“Enabling users to appeal content they want to see removed from Facebook is a significant expansion of the Oversight Board’s capabilities,” said Thomas Hughes, Director of the Oversight Board Administration. “The Board was created to ensure that fewer decisions about highly significant content issues be taken by Facebook alone, and that better decisions can be delivered through an independent and transparent process that works to safeguard human rights and freedom of expression. Today’s announcement is another step towards realizing this.”
With today’s announcement, Facebook and Instagram users will be allowed to reach the Board for content takedown requests once they have exhausted all other processes that Facebook offers. “Starting today with an expanding roll out over the coming weeks, after an individual has exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, they will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID and can formally appeal for independent review,” the Board said.
Content eligible for review includes posts, status updates, photos, videos, comments and shares. In case the same piece of content is reported by multiple users, the Board will put all of them within a “single case file” in order to gain more context on the content in question.