Facebook’s Oversight Board announced that users can now submit appeals pertaining to the removal of content in order to perform an independent review. With 40 people from around the world appointed to it by Facebook back in May, the Board prefers to serve as a Supreme Court for the social media population.
The Board’s members will make final verdicts on what content Facebook or Instagram should allow or remove, with respect to freedom of expression and human rights being the main criteria for moderation.
Administrative director Thomas Hughes said on Thursday, “Our focus has been on building an institution that is not just about reacting to a single movement or chasing a specific news cycle, but about protecting human rights and free expression over the long term”.
Including a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the Guardian editor responsible for managing the publication of the infamous Snowden leaks, the 40-man board boasts an impressive repertoire. Each board member will serve a three-year term, and Facebook will not restrict any of the board’s decision-making. The company even invested $130 million into a binding trust to fund the Board’s operations.
For the time being, the Board will only deal with appeals concerning the content that was removed by Facebook. Users can bring appeals to the board, and Facebook as a company will be able to refer cases for advanced review if they could have urgent, real-world consequences. The board has freedom of choice about whether to accept or reject cases referred by Facebook.
In order to have a board review, a user will have to appeal the initial content decision made by Facebook or Instagram and must have received a final decision from the platform. The person filing the appeal must have an active account on the platform where the content was posted and will have to submit an appeal to the Board within 15 days of the platform’s final decision. The panel will make its decision within 90 days of accepting a case for review.