Facebook’s independent oversight board accepting appeals on banned content

Facebook Business2Community
Facebook. [Photo: Business2Community]

Facebook and Instagram have a new independent oversight board which will be handling appeals on content removal.

The social media giant on Friday announced that the oversight board is ready to start hearing cases from appellants whose content has been taken down on either Facebook or Instagram.

The board’s co-chair Catalina Botero-Marino 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.

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.

Facebook Community Standards will guide the board’s decision-making while the public will be allowed to give their comments on the cases via a commenting platform.

“Content that could lead to urgent, real-world consequences will be reviewed as quickly as possible,” added Jamal Greene, the board’s other co-chair. 

“The board provides a critical independent check on Facebook’s approach to moderating content on the most significant issues, but doesn’t remove the responsibility of Facebook to act first and to act fast in emergencies.” 

Besides hearing appeals, the board will also make change to Facebook Standards as it continues with its work.