The Oversight Board is Accepting User Appeals to Remove Content from Facebook and Instagram

From today, users will be able to appeal content to the Oversight Board which they want removed from Facebook and Instagram.

Expanding the Board’s scope

Where users have exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, they can challenge the company’s decision by appealing eligible content to the Oversight Board.

So far, users have been able to appeal content to the Board which they think should be restored to Facebook or Instagram. Now, users can also appeal content to the Board which they think should be removed from Facebook or Instagram. The Board will use its independent judgment to decide what to leave up and what to take down. Our decisions will be binding on Facebook.

From today, this option is being rolled out and will be available to all users over the coming weeks. This phased approach is important for ensuring there are no technical issues with the new functionality available to users, and is a standard part of releasing any new product or feature.

How does it work?

After you have exhausted Facebook’s appeals process, you will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID in your support inbox and can appeal the decision to the Board. You can appeal decisions on posts and statuses, as well as photos, videos, comments and shares.

As content will be live on Facebook and Instagram, many people will be able to report the same piece of content. In these cases, multiple user appeals will be gathered into a single case file for the Board. As multiple users can report the same content, this means the Board may consider multiple submissions from users on a single case. To protect the privacy of those appealing to the Board, we will only include details in our decisions that could easily identify the person who reported the content if they have given permission for us to do so.

To read more about the technical details of these appeals please click here.

A thorough, principled and transparent process

In many respects, user appeals to remove content from Facebook and Instagram will follow the same process as our previous cases. The Board makes decisions in a way that is thorough, principled and transparent:

What’s next

Today’s expansion of the Board’s powers marks another significant milestone. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out the ability for all users to appeal content they want removed from Facebook and Instagram.

In its first six months, the Board has begun publishing decisions on a wide range of highly significant content issues, including the ‘Zwarte Piet’ decision released today. We’ve received more than 300,000 user appeals and thousands of public comments. Facebook has also responded to our recommendations and referred a high-profile case on former US President Donald Trump. While we know there is more to do, these are strong foundations for reshaping Facebook’s approach to content moderation in the long-term.

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