Facebook’s oversight board creates way for users to appeal content decisions

Board has already overturned several of company’s decisions to remove content

The oversight board, which has been called Facebook’s version of a Supreme Court, announced that it overturned Facebook’s decisions in four out of the five cases before it.

The board is intended to create a new way for users to appeal content decisions on both Facebook and Instagram, given previous criticism over how the company handles hate speech, violent extremism and graphic materials. The 20-person board includes a former prime minister, a Nobel peace prize laureate and the former editor-in-chief of The Guardian. Facebook says its decisions are final and binding.

The first cases touched on issues of hate speech, nudity and COVID-19 misinformation. All five cases involved Facebook taking down posts for breaking its rules. The first series of decisions come ahead of the most closely watched case yet for the board: Whether former president Donald Trump gets to stay on Facebook.

Earlier this month, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram banned the ex-president’s account from posting for at least the remainder of his term and potentially “indefinitely” after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. capitol to protest the election results. Last week, Facebook said it referred its suspension of the former president to the independent board for review.

The board will have 90 days from that referral to decide whether the Trump ban should be upheld or not, but a spokesperson for the board said it expects to “Act more quickly than that.”


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