The Facebook Oversight Board will now allow users to invoke message deletion from the platform, significantly expanding the scope of the Oversight Board. During the first six months of the Supervisory Board, users could only rely on content restored to the platform after it was removed by Facebook moderators. Now the board will also hear calls for content left by Facebook moderators.
Launched in October, the Oversight Board is tasked with reviewing Facebook’s moderation decisions, similar to a Supreme Court of Facebook rules. Regardless of Facebook at the corporate level, the board will only handle cases if a user has already exhausted their review capabilities within Facebook itself. At that point, if a user wishes to escalate the matter, they can appeal to the Oversight Board in the hope that they will hear the matter and come to a different decision. However, the Supervisory Board only chooses selected cases, so there is no guarantee that an appeal will lead to a decision.
Posts reviewed by Facebook and left online by the moderators are eligible for appeal to the Oversight Board. The company has rules that prohibit hate speech, threats, sexual encouragement, misinformation, copyright infringement, and more, but some posts may slip through the gap or be misjudged. The Oversight Board aims to provide a solution for people who still hope that problematic content will be removed.
Since its launch, the board has posted seven decisions on cases involving hate speech, disinformation and nudity. In an eighth case, the board refused to publish a ruling after a message had been deleted by a user. The administration is also reviewing Facebook’s decision to ban then-President Donald Trump from its platform in January 2021; there is no timeline on which a decision will be published.