Facebook users are receiving added powers to nuke or reinstate other users’ content rather than just plead for their own to remain live. The timing wasn’t great, however – the site recently leaked 533 million users’ personal info.
Facebook users can begin filing appeals to the platform’s “Supreme Court” decisions, the supposedly independent Oversight Board announced on Tuesday in a blog post, explaining the capabilities would be “roll[ed]” in waves to ensure users elsewhere are not affected by the removal of the content.
Since March, decisions by the company’s Oversight Board regarding another user’s content could only be appealed if the user was in Germany, where antitrust and privacy laws are significantly stricter than in the US. But from October on, users who wanted someone else’s content removed were unable to reach the Oversight Board, as the content in question was not their own.
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However, going forward, users may appeal in an effort to save posts written by others from being taken down. Facebook constantly attempts to reassure users that the Oversight Board is different from Facebook at a corporate level and is not accountable to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s company to deliver the corporate-desired response. Indeed, it has already handed down seven rulings so far, involving “hate speech, misinformation, and nudity.“
Facebook’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, praised the initial rollout of the Oversight Board in May and expressed hope that the latest development would take the site even higher. In the post, he reassured readers the feature would be usable “within the coming weeks.” It’s not clear if April’s inexplicable Facebook and Instagram outage had to do with them testing this capability. Earlier in the month, some 533 million of users’ Facebook numbers were exposed, much to the horror of Facebook users who believed the company when it claimed to be trustworthy.
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The Oversight Board has had the capacity to reinstate removed content since October 2020, when the Oversight Board went live. At that point, though, only an involved user could submit it for review. The individual trying to get the content restored has to answer several questions regarding Facebook’s takedown policies and how they feel Facebook has run afoul of them.
For users who really, really want their item removed, a case number is provided, along with the option to further appeal to the Oversight Board described. Unlike the automated approval/rejection process, the Oversight Board gives the complainant access to a real human being… who apparently won’t necessarily vote the same way as the AI would have!
Facebook’s Oversight Board took a long time to open up last October, coming to disappointed users with a slate of almost all left-leaning academics, a former Israeli politician, and others typically marching in lock-step with Facebook’s centrist-liberal ideology.
Zuckerberg appears to be treading on thin ice with his efforts to amp-up censorship indefinitely. Along with the other “big three” social media platforms, Facebook is calling for a ban on targeted advertising in what appears to be a vote to avoid further regulation. The company was dragged all the way to the antitrust watchdog entity in Germany, though a higher court has finally rejected the appeal in March.
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