Oversight Board Announces Post in Polish Targeting Trans People Case

Today, the Board is announcing a new case 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 case that we are announcing today is:

Post in Polish Targeting Trans People


User appeal to remove content from Facebook

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

To read this announcement in Polish, click here.

Aby przeczytać ten komunikat w języku polskim, kliknij tutaj.

In April 2023, a Facebook user in Poland posted an image of a striped curtain in the blue, pink and white colors of the transgender flag. On the image, there is text overlay that says in Polish: “New technology. Curtains that hang themselves.” Above it, other words in Polish appear that translate into English as “spring cleaning <3.” Reactions from other users to the post were positive for the most part.

Between April and May 2023, 11 different users reported the content a total of 12 times. Of these, 10 reports were not prioritized for human review by Meta’s automated systems for a variety of reasons, including “low severity and virality scores.” Only two of the reports, falling under the Facebook Community Standard on Suicide and Self-Injury, resulted in the content being sent for human review. Both reviewers assessed it as non-violating and did not escalate it further. None of the reports based on the Hate Speech policy were sent for human review.

Three users appealed Meta’s decision to keep the content on Facebook. One appeal resulted in a human reviewer upholding Meta’s original decision that the content did not violate its Suicide and Self-Injury policy. The other two appeals, made under Facebook’s Hate Speech policy, were not sent for human review.

One of the users who originally reported the content then appealed to the Board. In their statement to the Board, the user noted that the person who posted the image had previously harassed members of the trans community online and had created a new account after being suspended from Facebook in the past. As a result of the Board selecting this case, Meta determined that the content did violate its Hate Speech policy and removed the post.

The Board selected this case to assess the accuracy of Meta’s enforcement of its Hate Speech policy, as well as to better understand how Meta approaches content that falls between hate speech and the promotion of suicide or self-injury. This case falls within the Board’s seven strategic priorities, both “Hate speech against marginalized groups” and “Gender.”

The Board would appreciate public comments that address:

  • Speech, whether in spoken, written or visual form, that may be described by users as “humorous” or “satirical,” but which may spread hate speech or other forms of inflammatory rhetoric.
  • The risks associated with widespread hate speech targeting LGBTQI+ people on social media and Meta’s human rights responsibilities in this context.
  • The state of anti-LGBTQI+ commentary on social media and in public discourse in Poland.
  • Statements that encourage or applaud death by suicide as a form of hate speech, and whether Meta’s policies and enforcement practices are sufficiently adequate to address them.
  • Meta’s policies and practices for reviewing multiple user reports involving the same piece of content.
  • Meta’s account-level enforcement practices for users who repeatedly engage in anti-trans hate speech and harassment.

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 this case.

Public Comments

If you or your organization feel that you can contribute valuable perspectives that can help with reaching a decision on the case 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 Wednesday 27 September.

What’s Next

Over the next few weeks, Board members will be deliberating this case. 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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