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Facebook Oversight Board opens public comments on content cross-check policy

Facebook Oversight Board opens public comments on content cross-check policy
Photo Credit: Pixabay
3 Dec, 2021

Facebook’s ‘independent’ Oversight Board has opened public comments on its policy advisory to the company over its content cross-check strategy.  

The Board on October 21 this year announced that it had accepted a request from Facebook to review its content cross-checking policy, for which it is now accepting public comments. 

“Beyond reviewing individual cases to remove or restore content, the Board can accept policy advisory opinion requests from Meta. After receiving input from external stakeholders, the Board provides detailed recommendations on changes Meta should make on its policies on a given topic,” the Board said

In October, the Board noted that the social media platform has “not been fully forthcoming” with it on its strategy behind cross-checking bans, suspensions and other relating censoring of posts on the platform, made by “high profile users.”  

On this note, the Board claimed that Facebook had submitted a request to it for advisory on how the company’s policy in this field can be altered. 

The information came after ex-Facebook employee and whistleblower, Frances Haugen, released a series of internal documents linked to the company, now called Meta.  

The documents, as Haugen alleged, “proved” that the company was lying to the public about changes that it was making to the platform about controlling issues such as hate speech, propaganda, misinformation and violence on the platform. 

Also read: Facebook’s Oversight Board to speak to whistleblower Frances Haugen

The documents also stated that Facebook constantly put its own profits over public interest of its billions of users across the world. India serves as a major market for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which now fall under the ‘Meta’ umbrella. 

In the statement announcing the opening of public comments on Facebook’s content cross-check policy, the Board further noted, “Meta must send the Board’s recommendations through its official policy development process and give regular updates on this, including through its newsroom. While the Board’s policy advisory opinion is not binding, Meta must provide a public response and follow-on actions after receiving our recommendations.” 

The Oversight Board in October 21, 2021, published its first transparency report, citing cases where it offered inputs to Facebook on various matters.  

The report claimed, among other aspects, that Facebook overturned 38 “significant” decisions in terms of content moderation on the platform, where its original decision was incorrect. 

However, the Board also revealed an official figure of over 500,000 content ban appeals made by users across Facebook and Instagram between October 2020 and June 2021, wherein the number of appeals per quarter nearly doubled from Q4 2020 to Q2 2021.