Facebook's Oversight Board expands mandate, users can now appeal posts that were allowed to remain online
Now the board, which includes academics, lawyers, and journalists, will also review cases brought by users where Facebook’s content moderators have decided to leave posts up.
Facebook's content Oversight Board, an independent group created to review some of the company's controversial content decisions, is expanding its mandate to allow users to appeal posts that the company allows to remain on the social network, not just those that were removed.
The board, which was announced in 2018 and started operating late last year, is meant to provide a check on Facebook's power by reviewing the company's content decisions against its policies. So far, the board has reviewed only six cases, all instances in which Facebook removed content from its service.
Now the board, which includes academics, lawyers, and journalists, will also review cases brought by users where Facebook's content moderators have decided to leave posts up. The change will greatly expand the number of posts the board can assess. Facebook has promised to honor the board's recommendations about whether to remove or restore posts.
Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of integrity, said in a blog post that the company was “glad the Oversight Board is expanding their scope and impact, and look forward to their future decisions and recommendations.”
To compensate for the increased workload, the board will grow from roughly 20 members to about 40 members in the coming months, according to board member Alan Rusbridger.
“It will just enable our work to be more rounded so people can appeal to us both ways,” Rusbridger said in an interview.
At the same time the board will only be able to handle a fraction of the cases. “A lot of how well it works depends on whether we are picking the right cases,” he said.
One of the cases that the Oversight Board is currently reviewing is whether Facebook overstepped its decision to ban then-President Donald Trump from the service in January. Trump was blocked on January 6 after sharing posts that encouraged his followers to march on the US Capitol to protest the election results, which led to a riot. Facebook deemed that Trump was inciting violence and has suspended him indefinitely until the Board concludes its assessment.
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