Oversight Board Announces Greek 2023 Elections Campaign Cases

Today, the Board is announcing new cases for consideration. As part of this, we are inviting people and organizations to submit public comments.

Case Selection

As we cannot hear every appeal, the Board prioritizes cases that have the potential to affect lots of users around the world, are of critical importance to public discourse or raise important questions about Meta's policies.

The cases that we are announcing today are:

Greek 2023 Elections Campaign

2023-030-FB-UA, 2023-031-FB-UA

User appeals to restore content to Facebook

Submit public comments, which can be provided anonymously, here.

To read this announcement in Greek, click here.

Για να διαβάσετε αυτήν την ανακοίνωση στα ελληνικά, κάντε κλικ εδώ.

These two cases concern content decisions made by Meta, both on Facebook, which the Oversight Board intends to address together. The two pieces of content were posted by different users in Greece around the time of the June 2023 General Election, the second set of elections to take place in the country that year following the failure of any party to secure a majority. Meta removed the two posts for violating its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals Community Standard. For each case, the Board will decide whether the content should be allowed on Facebook.

In the first case, a Facebook user, who was a candidate for the Spartans party in Greece, posted an image of his electoral leaflet, accompanied by a caption in Greek describing the progress of his campaign ahead of the June 2023 elections. The leaflet also noted that Ilias Kasidiaris supports the Spartans. Mr. Kasidiaris, a Greek politician, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for directing the activities of Golden Dawn – a far-right political party, which in 2020 was declared a criminal organization responsible for hate crimes, including the murder of a Greek rap singer and violent attacks on immigrants and left-wing activists. Before being sentenced, he founded a new party called National Party – Greeks. In May 2023, the Greek Supreme Court disqualified National Party – Greeks from running in the June 2023 elections, so Mr. Kasidiaris declared his support for the Spartans from prison using his Twitter account.

In the second case, a different Facebook user posted an image of the National Party – Greeks’ logo, with the word “Spartans” in Greek as part of the image.

Both posts were reported to Meta, which determined the content in both cases violated Facebook’s Dangerous Organizations and Individuals Community Standard. Both Facebook users who posted the content appealed, but Meta confirmed its removal decisions were correct, also separately applying a severe strike and 30-day restriction to both accounts, preventing them from creating content. The two users then separately appealed to the Board.

Meta informed the Board that Golden Dawn, National Party – Greeks, and Ilias Kasidiaris are designated as Tier 1 Hate Organizations and as a Tier 1 Hate Figure, respectively, under the Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy. This policy “focuses on entities that engage in serious offline harms – including organizing or advocating for violence against civilians, repeatedly dehumanizing or advocating for harm against people based on protected characteristics, or engaging in systematic criminal operations.” Meta noted that the Facebook user in the first case praised a designated entity by speaking positively about Mr. Kasidiaris and aligning themselves with him. In the second case, Meta considered the sharing of the logo as praise for National Party – Greeks, another designated entity.

On August 29, 2023, Meta announced changes to its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy, including an updated exception for content in the context of social and political discourse that reports on, neutrally discusses or condemns dangerous organizations and individuals or their activities. Meta told the Board that the content in both cases would not benefit from this exception, prior to or following the August 29 changes.

The Board selected these cases to assess the impact of Meta’s Dangerous Organizations and Individuals Community Standard on freedom of expression and political participation, especially during elections when designated entities or persons associated with them may be active in political discourse, and/or are lawfully fielding candidates. The cases fall within the Board’s Elections and Civic Space and Hate Speech against Marginalized Groups strategic priorities.

The Board would appreciate public comments that address:

  • Trends in the use of social media platforms by organized hate movements in Greece and Europe, in particular in the context of elections, and related impacts on civic discourse and the rights of marginalized groups, including migrants.
  • Views on how Meta should moderate content relating to proscribed political parties and hate organizations and figures, considering Meta’s values of “safety” and “voice,” and the company’s human rights responsibilities in relation to freedom of expression, freedom of association, equality and non-discrimination, and public participation.
  • Insights into the effectiveness of Meta removing content praising, supporting or representing designated hate organizations and figures to reduce offline harm, and insights into alternative or additional measures to address these harms.
  • The transparency of Meta’s designation list, in particular for designated hate organizations and figures who may be participating lawfully in elections.

As part of its decisions, the Board can issue policy recommendations to Meta. While recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days. As such, the Board welcomes public comments proposing recommendations that are relevant to these cases.

Public Comments

If you or your organization feel that you can contribute valuable perspectives that can help with reaching a decision on the cases announced today, you can submit your contributions using the link above. Please note that public comments can be provided anonymously. The public comment window is open for 14 days, closing at 23:59 your local time on Tuesday 7 November.

What’s Next

Over the next few weeks, Board members will be deliberating these cases. Once they have reached their final decision, we will post it on the Oversight Board website. To receive updates when the Board announces new cases or publishes decisions, sign up here.

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