Oversight Board to Start Hearing Cases
Starting today, if your content is removed from Facebook or Instagram and you have exhausted your appeals with Facebook, you’ll be able to appeal your case to the Oversight Board, a global body of experts separate from Facebook that will make independent and binding decisions on the cases they choose to hear.
In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg first outlined a vision for a new chapter in online governance, writing that “Facebook should not make so many important decisions about free expression and safety on our own.” The Oversight Board is the realization of that vision, and over the next few weeks, our nearly 3 billion users will have access to independent review of difficult content decisions.
The Board will make decisions on which cases to take, selecting from both cases appealed by users and cases referred by Facebook, and they will do so based on criteria laid out in their announcement today.
The Path to the Oversight Board
Over the past two years, Facebook conducted a global consultation process that culminated in the creation of the Oversight Board’s trust, charter, bylaws, case management tool, and a Facebook internal team to implement the Board’s decisions.
How Do I Appeal My Case?
Going forward, people who have (1) appealed eligible Facebook or Instagram content decisions and (2) have exhausted appeals with Facebook, will be issued an Oversight Board Reference ID in their Support Inbox on Facebook or Support Requests section in Instagram. People can then take this Reference ID to the Oversight Board website, to submit their case for review by the Board.
We expect everyone on Facebook and Instagram eligible to refer cases to the Oversight Board to technically be able to do so over the coming few weeks.
How Will the Oversight Board Select Cases?
The Board will have sole discretion as to which cases to hear, except in exceptional circumstances when Facebook refers a case for expedited review, where the Board will accept and review the case as quickly as possible.
At launch, because of the way Facebook’s existing content moderation systems work, users will only be able to appeal to the Board in cases where Facebook has removed their content. In any event, decisions about content that has been left up by Facebook are very much in scope from Day 1, since Facebook can directly refer such content to the Board.
How Will Facebook Decide What to Refer to the Board?
Facebook may refer “significant and difficult” content decisions directly to the Oversight Board, at which time the individual who posted the content in question will be notified and given the opportunity to provide a statement. Similar to user appeals, the Board will choose which, if any, of the Facebook referred cases to review, and will then make a decision that is binding on Facebook. In addition to the normal Facebook referred cases pathway, Facebook is able to obtain an urgent review of content decisions in exceptional circumstances via expedited review.
Updates to the Oversight Board Trust and Bylaws
In December, Facebook established an independent Oversight Board Trust to safeguard the Board’s financial and decision-making independence from Facebook. The Trust and its trustees are responsible for facilitating financial and legal oversight over the Oversight Board — further removing Facebook from any involvement in the Board’s operations.
Today, the Oversight Board announced the first individual trustee, who will serve as chairperson of the Trust, Mr. Paul G. In addition to Mr. Haaga, future trustees will be selected based on their experience in holding positions of a legal, financial or fiduciary capacity, as well as their experience in matters of institutional oversight and governance.
Oct 30, 2020 at 20:21