Facebook Oversight Board With Kenyan representative reviews first batch of appeals

Kenyan Human rights defender Maina Kiai. [Photo Capital FM]

At least 20,000 appeals have been forwarded to the Facebook Oversight Board which kicked off its operations in October.

On the board’s table are six crucial appeals which it must issue a decision on within the next 90 days.

The first task that the oversight board has embarked on is seeking public input in one of the cases involving a cancer post that was pulled down and the decision has since been appealed.

In the post, it details about breast cancer and goes ahead to show the affected body part.

The second biggest case is that of a dead child, a picture that was taken after China retaliated against Uighur Muslims.

Now, the oversight board as spelt out in its mandate has sought for public comment on whether the post should be pulled down or not.

“Facebook has to follow our decision. And that means if they have taken content down, they have to put it back up. But they also have to use this as a guideline for other similar cases,” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark and an Oversight Board member.

Also read: Facebook’s independent oversight board accepting appeals on banned content

Maina Kiai, the former head of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights is part of the oversight board representing East Africa.

The board comprises professionals drawn from different sectors.

Those whose content has been pulled down and have not found help through internal dispute resolution mechanisms will appeal as the last resort.

Again, the board can get appeals forwarded by Facebook itself in emergency cases. In such an event, the board will decide on if or not content should be taken down.

Once the appeals are selected, a five-member panel will be constituted to decide on the same and there will be one member from the region implicated by the content.

The board’s co-chair Catalina Botero-Marino in October said that they are cognizant of the fact that the board will not hear all appeals but will make sure that it gives the widest decisions ever in the appeals that it handles.

“We won’t be able to hear every appeal, but want our decisions to have the widest possible value, and will be prioritising cases that have potential to impact many users around the world, are of critical importance to public discourse and raise questions about Facebook’s policies,” Marino said.