In a potentially disastrous overreach in power, Facebook has announced an expansion of power for their highly controversial “Oversight Board,” now allowing for average users to submit direct appeals to remove posts off of 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,” their announcement states.
“So far, users have been able to appeal content to the Board which they think should be restored to Facebook or Instagram,” the announcement continues. “Now, users can also appeal content to the Board which they think should be removed from Facebook or Instagram. 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.”
Originally, the concept of an Oversight Board aimed to prevent biased removal of content from Facebook by offering third party reviews of accused acts of censorship. If a post had been removed, users had the option to challenge the decision through the Oversight Board.
However, Facebook has now decided to allow users to submit appeals to remove content and directly challenge posts themselves rather than merely being a function to challenge removals of posts.
Facebook laid out a four step process that the Oversight Board will follow.
1.The Oversight Board, made up of 19 “diverse” members, selects cases that “affect many users” that are of “critical importance to public discourse,” and/or “raise important questions about Facebook’s policies.
2.Out of the 19 members, five will be “randomly selected” to discuss the case.
3.The panel of five will then determine if the content “violates Facebook’s Community Standards and values” or “international human rights standards.” The panel will also consider “information from the user, Facebook, outside experts, and public comments” to reach a “draft decision.”
4.The decision will then be brought to the full oversight board for all members to vote on the final review, with a majority required to reach a published decision, which will be posted on Facebook’s website and acted upon within seven days.
Facebook announced the new option will be available in the coming weeks. The board is also expected to examine Facebook’s indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump as one of their first decisions.