Oversight Board announces plans to review more cases, and appoints a new Board Member
Today, we are announcing significant changes to our Charter and Bylaws to allow us to review more cases and to do so faster than before. Moving forward, in addition to our standard decisions and policy advisory opinions, we will also be publishing expedited and summary decisions. Expedited decisions will review Meta’s decision on a piece of content within days in urgent cases, while summary decisions will examine Meta’s original decision in cases where it later changed its mind. We are also publishing a quarterly transparency report about our work in the fourth quarter of 2022, and announcing the appointment of a new Board Member, Kenji Yoshino – a constitutional law scholar from the United States.
Making more decisions, faster
Since we started accepting appeals over two years ago, we have published 35 case decisions, covering issues from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, to LGBTQI+ rights, as well as two policy advisory opinions. As part of this work, we have made 186 recommendations to Meta, many of which are already improving people’s experiences of Facebook and Instagram. Just last month, Meta announced that, in response to our recommendation in the “Iran protest slogan” case, it would allow the term “Marg bar Khamenei” (which literally translates as “Death to [Iran’s supreme leader] Khamenei”) in the context of ongoing protests in Iran. We expect this to have a big impact on the ability of protesters in Iran to have their voices heard on Facebook and Instagram.
While the in-depth review of our standard decisions and policy advisory opinions will remain a key part of our work, we are also exploring new ways to increase our impact and improve how Meta treats people and communities around the world. Increasing the number of decisions we produce, and the speed at which we do so, will let us tackle more of the big challenges of content moderation, and respond more quickly in situations with urgent real-world consequences. As such, moving forward we will be publishing our first expedited and summary decisions. We have updated our Charter and Bylaws to reflect these decision types, and streamline our operational procedures.
We recognize that in urgent situations, acting quickly can maximize our impact. While expedited review was mentioned in previous versions of our Bylaws, it has not been used so far. The procedural changes we are making today will let us take on our first cases of this kind.
Under this process, Meta will refer cases for expedited review, which our Co-Chairs will decide whether to accept or reject. When we accept an expedited case, we will announce this publicly. A panel of Board Members will then deliberate the case, and draft and approve a written decision. This will be published on our website as soon as possible. We have designed a new set of procedures to allow us to publish an expedited decision as soon as 48 hours after accepting a case, but in some cases it might take longer – up to 30 days. Expedited decisions on whether to take down or leave up content will be binding on Meta. Due to time constraints, these cases will not consider public comments and decisions will be made based on the information available at the time of deliberation. In some cases, we may also decide to select user appeals for expedited review.
After our Case Selection Committee identifies a list of cases to consider for selection, Meta sometimes determines that its original decision on a post was incorrect, and reverses it. So far, Meta has reversed its original decision for around 80 shortlisted cases in this way. In the vast majority of these cases, that meant Meta had to restore the content in question, ensuring that users’ voices are heard on Facebook and Instagram.
While we publish full decisions for a small number of these cases, the rest have only been briefly summarized in our quarterly transparency reports. We believe that these cases hold important lessons and can help Meta avoid making the same mistakes in the future. As such, our Case Selection Committee will select some of these cases to be reviewed as summary decisions. These decisions will include information about Meta’s original error, which may be useful to researchers and civil society groups. Summary decisions will be approved by a panel of Board Members, not the full Board, and will not consider public comments.
Releasing our Q4 2022 transparency report
Today we are releasing our Q4 2022 transparency report which presents key statistics on cases selected by the Board, as well as a review of Meta’s implementation of the decisions and recommendations we made in this quarter. This report covers the five case decisions published in Q4 2022, “Tigray Communication Affairs Bureau,” “Russian poem,” “UK drill music,” “Video after Nigeria church attack,” and “India sexual harassment video.” It also covers our policy advisory opinion on Meta's cross-check program. In our next transparency report covering Q1 2023, we will continue to review Meta’s implementation of our decisions and recommendations. This will include a review of Meta’s announcement on former President Trump. Our initial response can be found here.
Announcing Kenji Yoshino as a new Board Member
We are also announcing the appointment of a new Board Member from the United States, Kenji Yoshino. Kenji brings with him knowledge and experience that will enrich our work, deepen our analysis, and help us improve how Meta treats people and communities around the world.
Kenji is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law and the Director of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. He specializes in constitutional law, antidiscrimination law, and law and literature, and previously served as Deputy Dean at Yale Law School. He currently serves on the Board of the Brennan Center for Justice, and on advisory boards for diversity and inclusion for Morgan Stanley and Charter Communications. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship, and has published four books, including his most recent book (co-authored with David Glasgow), Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice (Simon & Schuster, 2023).
Moving forward, we will be publishing our first expedited and summary decisions. When finalized, these will be published on our website.