Last year, Facebook removed several posts about abortion policy that the company said constituted death threats. The posts, which were written by users on both sides of the controversial issue, were then referred to the Facebook Oversight Board to decide their fate. And this week, the semi-independent group released a report ordering Facebook to reinstate all three posts. Additionally, the group is pressing Facebook to release the data about how it enforces these decisions.
According to Facebook, the removal of posts like this is often a simple mistake. However, the Oversight Board isn’t convinced, and wants hard proof that Facebook isn’t overstepping its authority by censoring political speech.
“These cases raise concerns about the accuracy of how Meta is enforcing its Violence and Incitement policy and whether this is disproportionately impacting abortion debates and political expression,” a spokesperson for the Oversight Board told Gizmodo. “Meta has to ensure its systems can reliably distinguish between threats and rhetorical use of violent language.”
Of course, Facebook has been known to ignore the recommendations of its Board, so there’s no guarantee the company will take action here. However, at least the Board has made its findings public so users can gain greater transparency into how and why Facebook censors content.
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