The Facebook Oversight Board will now allow users to appeal for posts to be taken down from the platform, a significant expansion of the Oversight Board’s scope. For the first six months of the Oversight Board, users could only appeal to have content restored to the platform after it had been removed by Facebook moderators. Now, the board will also hear appeals for content that Facebook moderators have left in place.
Launched in October, the Oversight Board is tasked with reviewing Facebook’s moderation decisions, akin to a Supreme Court for Facebook rules. Independent from Facebook at a corporate level, the board will only consider cases once a user has already exhausted their options for review within Facebook itself. If a user wants to escalate the case at that point, they can file an appeal with the Oversight Board in hopes that it will take the case and come to a different decision. The Oversight Board only chooses select cases, however, so there’s no guarantee that an appeal will result in a decision.
Posts reviewed by Facebook and left online by its moderators will be eligible for appeal to the Oversight Board. The company has rules barring hate speech, threats, sexual solicitation, misinformation, copyright infringement, and more, but some posts may slip through the cracks or be judged erroneously. The Oversight Board is meant to offer a solution for people who still hope to see problematic content taken down.
Since launch, the board has posted seven decisions on cases involving hate speech, misinformation, and nudity. On an eighth case, the board declined to publish a ruling after a post was removed by a user. The board is also reviewing Facebook’s decision to ban then-President Donald Trump from its platform in January 2021; there’s no timeline on when a decision will be published.