Sunday, May 9, 2021

Facebook’s first supervisory board judgments overturn four moderation decisions

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The first case announced by the supervisory board, coded 2020-001-FB-UA, was effectively withdrawn for consideration on December 3, 2020. In a statement, the Council said the original post, a comment under which had been deleted for violating Facebook’s hate speech rules, had been deleted. Since neither of the two entries was yet available on the platform, the council chose to choose a new case, the judgment of which was not made available today.

The rest of the list is mostly made up of hate speech questions that are deemed to be more ambiguous in intent or wording. A individual released an image of Nazi Joseph Goebbels, with an attributed quote describing how to appeal to emotion rather than logic in political communications. Facebook removed the image citing promoting a dangerous organization, but the poster said the image was uploaded to help identify similarities between 1930s Germany’s fascist politics and current discourse . That case was called off, saying Facebook’s rules do not specify that a user must argue that they are not posting in support of that person. It is likely that in the future, users will have to forgo their posts in order to better allow moderators to understand their intent.

Another notable judgment concerns Facebook’s breast and nipple policies, which are essentially banned from posting on Facebook and Instagram. Case 2020-004-IG-UA is an appeal by a Brazilian person sharing campaign material describing breast cancer symptoms (and how to identify them). Naturally, several of the images it contains depicted breasts and nipples, which Facebook deleted. The poster objected, as the material showed little “sexual activity”.

In this case, Facebook had already reinstated the post and suggested that the board should not hear the case. He decided to do it anyway, and said that a “lack of proper human control” moderately raises “human rights concerns”.

The box that replaced the first, 2020-007-FB-FBR, relates to an image of a man holding a sheathed sword and a reference to the design of the sword “in response to ‘infidels’ criticizing the prophet.” The text below referred to French President Emmanuel Macron, who is proposing laws to curb what he calls “Islamist separatism”. The post was withdrawn based on Facebook’s incitement to violence policy, suggesting it was an implied threat to the president. However, this case was not dealt with today and should be published in the coming days.

Prior to the publication of decisions, a group calling itself Facebook’s real supervisory board decried today’s judgments. The group’s membership includes academics, researchers, and civil rights leaders, including the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and the chair of the NAACP. Other notable names associated with the Real Oversight Board include Roger McNamee and Yael Eisenstat, Facebook’s top investor (and subsequent critic), who previously led Facebook’s electoral integrity efforts.

In a statement, the Real Oversight Board said the decisions were a “distraction from real and independent responsibility,” and called the body a “public relations effort” and “a theater of control.” He added that Facebook has repeatedly failed to tackle hate speech and disinformation on its platforms, allowing right-wing national terrorists to organize in the wake of the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol building. .

He added that the composition of the Council, made up of “hand-picked experts, paid at six figures each, ruling on a limited set of prejudices in a non-transparent manner” is hardly democratic. He says the lack of true independence, private hearings and the long delay between action and judgment are all signs that the system is not fit for purpose. Not to mention that the board can only examine specific cases, rather than looking at “deep systemic loopholes that allow harmful content to enter Facebook sites.”[sic]. “

One decision that was not rendered today was the appeal made by the Trump campaign on the account suspension January 6th. In a personal statement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the dangers of allowing Trump access to his account “would likely spark further violence.” The Supervisory Board accepted the call on January 21, and is likely to issue a new ruling on the matter in the near future.

This last minute story is under development, please update for more information.



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