For months, Facebook has touted its creation of an independent Oversight Board to handle controversial moderation decisions. The Board, which consists of experts in the fields of human rights, law, journalism and more, have already welcomed cases from all over the world — including whether former president Trump should be welcomed back to the platform — and this week, they announced their first set of rulings.
The cases included a post featuring a photo of a deceased child that was critical of China’s treatment of its Muslim population, an alleged quote from a Nazi official, and more. In four of the cases, the Board overturned Facebook’s initial decision. And while five cases doesn’t even represent a drop in the bucket of controversial content that lives on the platform, the Board members hope their decisions can be used to more clearly define Facebook’s policies.
“We can see that there are some policy problems at Facebook,” board member Katherine Chen told Reuters. “We want their policy to be clear — especially those policies involved in human rights and freedom of speech. They have to be precise, accessible, clearly defined.”
On the one hand, it’s troubling that Facebook was never able to sort out these difficult decisions on its own. But on the other, it’s encouraging that there is finally a serious group committed to tackling them.
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