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Facebook Oversight Board announces decisions on first batch of cases, criticises company’s opaque content moderation

Facebook Oversight Board
Source: Facebook

Facebook's Oversight Board, the independent body which acts as a court of appeals for the company, has announced its decisions on the first batch of cases it had picked up last month. The Board overturned Facebook's content moderation decisions in four cases and upheld them in one case. In the case related to the removal of alleged hate speech by former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Board did not pronounce a decision as Mohamad deleted the post on his own. In its decisions, the Board criticised a lack of transparency and consistency in Facebook's enforcement of its Community Standards. It was also critical of Facebook's automated enforcement, and recommended improving detection algorithms. The Board, whose constitution was announced in November 2018, can review cases referred to by users and Facebook itself. Facebook cannot overrule the Board's decisions. Having started accepting appeals in October 2020, the Board picked up its first set of cases in December 2020. The Board subsequently picked up a case pertaining to India, a decision on which is expected in the coming days. Earlier this week, the Board picked up its biggest case yet — to consider whether former US president Donald Trump will stay suspended on Facebook, it said recently. Key recommendations by Oversight Board Facebook needs to clearly notify users after moderation: The Board found that Facebook did not make it sufficiently clear to users as to why their posts were removed. In one case, Facebook only told a user their post had…

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