Oversight Board starts accepting user appeals to remove content from Facebook, Instagram

The board’s governance structure was designed to allow for a mechanism, separate from Facebook, through which content can be brought forward for independent review

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 14, 2021 3:16 PM
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Facebook's Oversight Board is accepting user appeals to remove content from Facebook and Instagram. The board’s governance structure was designed to allow for a mechanism, separate from Facebook, through which content can be brought forward for independent review.

"From today, users will be able to appeal content to the Oversight Board which they want removed from Facebook and Instagram. Where users have exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, they can challenge the company’s decision by appealing eligible content to the Oversight Board," The Oversight Board said in a statement.

Till now, Facebook and Instagram users have been able to appeal to the Board about content which they think should be restored to Facebook or Instagram. Now, they can also appeal about the content which they think should be removed from the two social media platforms. "The Board will use its independent judgment to decide what to leave up and what to take down. Our decisions will be binding on Facebook," the board added.

The option to appeal for the removal of content will be rolled out over the next few weeks in a phased approach. This is being done to ensure that there are no technical issues with the new functionality available to users, and is a standard part of releasing any new product or feature.

"After you have exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, you will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID in your support inbox and can appeal the decision to the Board. You can appeal decisions on posts and statuses, as well as photos, videos, comments and shares," the board said.

For multiple complaints on same piece of content, multiple user appeals will be gathered into a single case file for the Board. "As multiple users can report the same content, this means the Board may consider multiple submissions from users on a single case. To protect the privacy of those appealing to the Board, we will only include details in our decisions that could easily identify the person who reported the content if they have given permission for us to do so."

The user appeals to remove content from Facebook and Instagram will follow the same process as our previous cases. "Today’s expansion of the Board’s powers marks another significant milestone. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out the ability for all users to appeal content they want removed from Facebook and Instagram."

In its first six months, the Board has begun publishing decisions on a wide range of highly significant content issues, including the ‘Zwarte Piet’ decision. "We’ve received more than 300,000 user appeals and thousands of public comments. Facebook has also responded to our recommendations and referred a high-profile case on former US President Donald Trump. While we know there is more to do, these are strong foundations for reshaping Facebook’s approach to content moderation in the long-term."

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